Orange to promote SMEs in Niger

Orange Niger has launched an initiative in the country to encourage increased innovation in the region.

Together with local partners, Orange Niger has established CIPMEN, a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business incubator.

The initiative is aimed at providing support for new SMEs in sectors such as information and communication technologies, renewable energy and the environment, until they are stable.

The project is a pilot programme that hopes to tackle the high percentage of SMEs that fail within the first two years in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The purpose of CIPMEN is to help innovative SMEs grow on a market where many companies fail to see the light of day, and to bridge the gap between the informal sector and the larger national and international companies,” Orange said in a statement.

“Niger offers few suitable support mechanisms for upcoming businesses, despite the central role that companies play in creating jobs for young people, helping to form a middle class, and in creating and redistributing wealth.”

Studies show that 80% of companies that undergo an incubation process will still be operating after five years.

Last week, Orange agreed to sell its majority stake in Orange Uganda to Africell, following a review of Orange's operations in Kenya and Uganda in March this year.

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