‘Nigeria remains Africa’s economic power house’
Despite current economic downturn, Nigeria remains Africa’s economic power- house, the Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets and Indirect, Orange Business Services, Philippe Koebel, has said.
Koebel said this yesterday in Lagos, at the formal launch of Orange Business Services Nigeria, from the stable of the French Information and Communications Technology (ICT) giant.
He explained that the nation has immense business opportunities and potentials, and even the current lull in the economy presents its own entrepreneurial benefits.
According to him, Orange Business Services is supporting senior IT decision makers with strategies to grasp the market opportunities being brought by digital transformation, stressing that the potential for businesses to expand in Nigeria is demonstrated by the size and rate of growth already achieved by existing Orange clients, especially in the financial sector.
Koebel, who said the dynamism of the Nigerian market was part of what informed the decision to expand its operations in the country, noted that today, over 50 per cent of the firm’s revenue comes from outside France, the parent country of Orange Group.
Making reference to the leverage enjoyed through service support given to First Bank Plc, the Orange Group’s Senior Vice President, said they the organization has supported the financial institutions in the country for three years now and has enjoyed cooperation from them, stressing that there had been claims that “we cannot survive in this environment, but we have persevered and discovered that Nigeria is still the place to be.”
Koebel revealed that the firm targets multinational customers in Nigeria, especially in the enterprise space, “because we have discovered that those businesses have decided to relocate to two places in Africa, which are Lagos and Johannesburg. So, we have decided to accelerate our business potential in Lagos by opening more offices. Our target is still the international market, especially sectors including banking, oil and gas, telecommunications, among others.”
He also disclosed that the expanded Orange Business services presence in Lagos would help to support the many Nigeria-based businesses, which want to increase their respective performances.
Vice President, Head of Africa Emerging Markets and Indirect Channels, Giorgio Heiman, said the firm acts as a trusted advisor to help customers compete on an equal footing, in what is rapidly becoming a global market, which includes competitive, high-quality IT services delivered in all countries in which we operate.
Heiman said Orange Business Services in Nigeria supports both Nigeria-based businesses, which are growing and transforming, thanks to digital technologies and multinational companies from elsewhere on the continent and beyond, which are looking to expand within Africa.
“We place great emphasis on local presence in our markets. There are many growth opportunities in IT, particularly in high-growth markets like Nigeria and across West Africa, but these can only be harnessed if service providers have a local understanding of strategic, political and cultural sensitivities in a region. Orange delivers consistently reliable telecommunications across Africa, including in hard-to-reach places and in jurisdictions where the regulatory environment is still developing”, Heiman stressed.
He revealed that in addition to West Africa, Orange Business Services is present across North and South Africa, stressing that customers are supported by global customer service centres in Cairo and Mauritius – part of a network of five centres worldwide.
“Orange has a strong commitment to the African continent, which has been at the heart of the Orange business strategy for the last few decades. The group has a long-term approach to its presence in the region and has invested heavily to support infrastructure development and innovations that have changed the social and business landscape”, he stated.
The Orange Group has €40. 2 billion in revenue; 157,000 employees; 263 million customers and is a domestic telecommunications operator in 28 countries.
Koebel disclosed that Orange Business Services has been committed to Africa for over 65 years and that the firm is recognised as 60th strongest brand and a strong geographical player with the assets to deliver connectivity and IT services, adding that the firm is a socially responsible employer in nine countries including Cameroon, Guinea-Conakry, Morocco, Ivory coast, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal.
“Accordingly, the firm currently provides communication services to multinational companies around the world, with over two million professional, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and business customers in France. It earned €6.4 billion revenue in 2015”, he added.
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