The Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia, Mamadou Coulibaly, has said that the company will invest around US$15million in 2018 in strategic ways that will ensure that the telecommunications industry in the country becomes the best in the region.
Coulibaly made the assertion yesterday at the official opening of the 2017 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) conference at the Liberian Marketplace in Monrovia. He used the occasion to encourage other large businesses not to focus on the growth and development of their own businesses alone, but also to invest strategically in ways that will ensure the growth of all sectors of the Liberian economy.
He said Orange Liberia is a proud sponsor of several events being organized as part of this year’s MSME conference and he is looking forward to collaborations that will grow the sector.
“Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises form the foundation for any economy. Without them, it would be difficult for even large businesses like Orange Liberia to be successful. In my home country of Cote d’Ivoire and many other countries around the world, it is the growth of SMEs that led to the creation of a large middle class, which is one of the critical pillars for the creation of jobs and eradication of poverty,” he said.
Coulibaly said Orange Liberia recognizes the important roles that these businesses play, adding, “That is why even in our business strategy, we have already developed a line of products and services to support the development and growth of small and medium enterprises.”
According to him, the services include “voice, SMS and data packages such as ‘My Digital Pack,’ which answers small businesses and their need to reach out to their customers. The ‘Closed User Group’ (CUG) feature allows businesses to communicate freely with unlimited benefits in a month.”
He added: “’Fast Connect,’ a high speed high quality connection to 4G Internet at a very affordable price for small businesses and most importantly for the development of the economy; ‘Orange Money,’ ‘Our Mobile Money Services,’ which allow business to pay their employees’ salaries, their suppliers, and very soon in December, their taxes to LRA. They will also receive payments from their customers.”
He said these services are designed to improve the performance of the business sector’s services to customers and also allow sector participants to simplify, secure and accelerate money management cycles, “which is the key of any business development.”
He said in 2018, Orange Liberia will lead a digital inclusion in Liberia at each level of Liberian society, stating: “This is why we will reinvest a large part of our profits back into Liberia, including major investments in building new sites so that more people, in the most remote corners of Liberia, will have access to connectivity.”
“We are confident that the foundation for growth has been set and it is our hope that Liberia will build on these gains to ensure that in the near future, it will lead to a large and robust middle class,” he added.
Frederick B. Norkeh, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, said the concept that the world is a global village has truly become a reality with the evolution of new technologies, and therefore, embracing information communication technology is no longer an option for governments around the world, but a means of staying connected in the 21st century.
“The wave of change in the ICT age requires adoptability to remain a part of the global village, or lead with innovation and creativity. To date, the government of Liberia through the Posts Ministry has made significant gains in keeping the country connected with the rest of the world by adopting new technologies,” Minister Norkeh said.
In 2011, the government through public-private partnerships celebrated the landing of the country’s first fiber-optic cable under the African Coast to Europe initiative, he said.
“The deployment of the ACE cable commenced from its landing station on Broad Street to Freeport of Monrovia and ELWA Junction by the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, which has significantly increased internet usage and reduced the cost of ICT services,” he noted.