Orange invests in Ethiopian telecoms and e-commerce start-up
The venture arm of Orange is investing in an Ethiopian start-up that plans to develop software talent across Africa for telecoms and e-commerce.
Orange said it will introduce the company, Gebeya, to its existing commercial partnerships across Africa and support its expansion in French-speaking African countries.
Marième Diop (pictured) of Orange Digital Ventures (ODV) Africa said: “With more than 60% of VC-backed tech start-ups in Africa created in the last five years, our ecosystem is growing very fast and investments are booming, yet the talent gap remains wider.”
It is a well-timed investment for Orange, which is expected to be interested in one of Ethiopia’s new telecoms licences, as the government opens up the market to competition.
In the last three years, Gebeya has trained over 600 new tech talents, 45% of whom have already been placed for employment, said ODV.
“Skills shortage is a critical barrier to start-ups successfully exploiting the power of new technologies,” said Diop.
Orange said that Gebeya is actively addressing rising youth unemployment in Africa and with the help of the International Finance Corporation – part of the World Bank – it is providing free scholarships to aspiring female software engineers, combatting gender disparity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“At ODV Africa, we are happy to support the hardworking Gebeya team and strongly believe in their ability to build the appropriate and sustainable pipeline of really talented African engineers to meet future skills needs on a global scale,” said Diop.
ODV did not disclose how much it is investing in Gebeya, which means “marketplace” in Ethiopia’s Amharic language.
But Amadou Daffe, Gebeya’s founder and CEO, said: “This investment will support the implementation of several vital changes a decisive time for the start-up. It will allow the start-up to gear up for future growth and implement its vision to Empower Africa through Technology.”
According to Daffe’s LinkedIn entry, “Gebeya is a self-sustainable ecosystem that combines an original practical training model that shapes the next generation of talented African software developers for global job opportunities and entrepreneurship to build innovative start-ups in Africa. In other words, we are building a self-sustained ecosystem that trains, hires and incubates the best of African talent.”