Orange Launches 13-country Developer Challenge

Orange Marc Rennard
Rennard: “The region is ripe for innovation”

To coincide with the release of its SMS APIs in five new countries – Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Niger and Senegal – Orange has launched its largest international Developer Challenge to date across 13 countries. The Challenge aims to encourage and nurture the creation of unique and local services for Africa and the Middle East from the growing entrepreneurial base developing in these countries.

The Orange AMEA Developer Challenge 2015 is launching to start-ups from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Cameroon and Botswana. Orange is also inviting submissions from France in this year’s challenge because of the unique insight it believes French start-ups can bring to the design and development of new services for users in Africa and the Middle East.

Submissions for the Challenge will be open from 3 August to 15 September 2015. 10 start-ups from each country will be selected to compete until the end of October. Orange will make a trio of APIs available (SMS, USSD and Director Operator Billing) on a test platform. Each of the participating 13 countries will identify and reward one winning project, with one global winner awarded a €10,000 (£7,000) prize to be announced in November 2015.

Over 90 developers from four African countries participated in last year’s Challenge, resulting in the launch of a range of new services, including the winning project, mLouma, a start-up from Senegal who developed a portal for mAgriculture connecting buyers and sellers. Using Orange APIs, mLouma created a USSD and SMS version of its portal and was able to start charging customers after integrating the Orange Carrier Billing API.

“Over 100m of our customers are in Africa and the Middle East,” said Marc Rennard, senior executive vice president, Africa and the Middle East, for Orange. “With data usage and familiarity with smartphone services growing day by day, the region is ripe for innovation and we want to be a part of the process that makes a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of Africans. The two initiatives we are launching today are designed to nurture ideas generation and support local talent. Opening up Orange assets to these entrepreneurs are essential to help them innovate and succeed.”