To coincide with the release of its SMS APIs in five new countries (Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Niger, Senegal), Orange is launching its largest international developer challenge to date – across 13 countries – aiming to spur 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 given the unique insight French start-ups can bring to the design and development of new services for users in Africa and the Middle East.
Submissions for the Orange AMEA Developer Challenge 2015 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 thousand euros (10,000.00€) prize to be announced in November 2015.
Over 90 developers from four African countries participated in last year’s 2014 challenge, resulting in a range of new services being launched including the winning project mLouma, a start-up from Senegal who developed a portal for m-agriculture to connect buyers and sellers. Using Orange APIs, mLouma created a USSD and SMS version of their portal and were able to start charging customers after integrating the Orange Carrier Billing API.
Through the Orange Partner developer website (www.orangepartner.com), enterprising start-ups from Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Niger and Senegal will be able, in the course of this summer, to directly access and use the Orange SMS API for the first time. SMS A2P (Application to Person) is a fast growing business in the region and through the Orange SMS Web Service, designed by the Group’s Technocentre & Orange Labs, start-ups will be able to rapidly develop new SMS-based services and benefit from a special range of SMS volume discounts and tariffs offered by Orange.
Start-ups like Sycelim, currently accelerated by Orange Fab, have already benefited from getting access to the Orange SMS Web Service, which was launched in the Ivory Coast on 9 April (https://www.orangepartner.com/SMS-CI-API ). Sycelim has developed an e-health service for professionals, allowing their customers to search for a specific doctor by type and location, and also receive health tips by SMS.
“Over 100 million of our customers are in Africa and the Middle East. 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,” commented Marc Rennard, senior executive vice president, Africa and the Middle East, Orange. “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.”