Orange Sierra Leone, the undisputed leader in the telecoms industry of Sierra Leone, on Thursday 28th September, 2023 officially commissioned the newly Beamay Nursery and Preparatory School at the Wilberforce Military Barracks in Freetown.
This was part of the US$1.5million pledge Orange made to complement Government’s Free Quality School Education (FQSE) in different forms of educational support.
Speaking at the commissioning, Orange (SL) Chief Executive Officer, Sekou Amadu Bah, said they were happy that the refurbished school with seven classrooms would host about 280 pupils with better facilities for an effective learning environment that would nurture the leaders of the future.
“As a company we understand the essence of giving back to the communities in which we operate, giving back to the communities in which we operate. That is why we did not hesitate to provide the philanthropic support required to this local community school to create a positive impact on children’s lives and to foster educational sustainability,” he averred.
The CEO added that Orange will continue to play a key role in the ‘Five Big Game Changers’ of the Government through their Corporate Social Responsibility and Foundation Project to drive Human Capital Development and youth empowerment to contribute effectively to His Excellency, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s vision for the country.
“When we received the request from the Armed Forces Wives Association to support with renovation of the school, we were compelled to take action to refurbish the school due to the deplorable state of its building that made it unfit for learning because we recognize that good facilities and infrastructures are important for producing good school outcomes,” CEO noted.
The CEO of Sonatel, Sekou Drame, said the project was a reflection of Sonatel and Orange Group’s commitment towards fostering sustainable development in education to build seeds for the future.
According to him, the objective of their group’s corporate social responsibility policy is to deploy sustainable development goals at the heart of all their affiliates across Africa and the Middle East that will be imbedded in four explicit areas: well-being of communities in which they operate; good governance; growth and economic development through investment; and preservation of the environment.
He said Orange is the first telecoms company to launch a partnership with government and that through their Foundation they have built five ultra-modern early learning development schools within three years in Port Loko, Kambia, Pujehun, Moyamba and Bonthe districts respectively.
Giving the keynote address, the First Lady, Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio, averred that education is the first pillar in President Bio’s agenda and he prioritized education because he wanted Sierra Leone to be part of the new Millennium.
She further expressed her profound thanks and appreciation to Orange and Sonatel for their support in helping the Armed Forces Wives Association to refurbish the school.
The First Lady underscored the importance of teachers and described them as precious people in moving society forward.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General P.K. Lavahun, said Beamay Nursery and Preparatory school is one of the oldest nursery and preparatory facilities across the Armed Forces.
He recalled that the Armed Forces Wives Association four decades ago conceived the idea of establishing the school that provide basic conducive learning environment for kids of serving personnel in Wilberforce barracks.
The Army Boss expressed gratitude to Orange Sierra Leone for its time CSR intervention to support the refurbishment of the school.
By Yusufu Sesay
The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) in the ongoing bilateral budget discussions at Ministry of Finance Technical Committee one last Friday 13th October,2023 has estimated revenue generation of the Authority for the Financial Year 2024 amounting to Le306,555,170 ( Three Hundred and Six Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand One Hundred and Seventy Leones ).
The aforesaid revenue projection is expected from the Authority’s revenue streams including Birth & Death Certificates, Adoption of Marriage and Divorce Certificates, Identity Services and verification System.
The disclosure was made by NCRA Director General, Mohamed M. Massaquoi in the budget hearings held at the ministry conference room at Treasury Building on George Street in Freetown.
Speaking at the ongoing budget hearings, the Director General of NCRA underscored the importance of his Authority in revenue generation as they generate huge revenue from various sources for services provided to the public.
According to him, NCRA revenue generation gives a big boost not only in financing its budget proposals but support national budget expenditures.
The DG further upbeat that NCRA saved government on annual bases a huge sum of money by tracking and reporting ghost workers, the deceased and enhancing payroll integrity by verifying the details of new employees.
NCRA Boss added that the authority has helped government savings of over Le28B through the payroll verification exercise which unearthed 1,450 ghost workers found on payroll in 2019.
Mr. Massaquoi made appealing case to the committee on the need to increase its FY2024 budget ceiling of Le5B TO Le56B so that they could be execute their mandate effectively and generate more revenue for government in FY2024 budget.
The DG said the services of NCRA have gone nationwide covering all 16 administrative districts necessitating increase in resources to enable them facilitate registering of vital events as they occur throughout the country.
Remarks from senior US Presidential Advisor at event for US and African officials during the United Nations General Assembly
The Senior US Presidential Advisor for Energy and Investment has highlighted Africell’s contribution to the campaign to boost Africa’s digital development through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), describing its digital services in Angola, DRC and other African countries as the project’s “connective tissue”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 78th annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Amos Hochstein explained that with the help of targeted financing from the US government, private sector investors such as Africell can have an accelerated impact in sub-Saharan Africa.
Referring to Africell’s newest operating market, Mr Hochstein said: “Africell connects the dots because with a relatively modest investment from the US government, it has been able to launch and grow quickly by giving Angolan consumers valuable new mobile capabilities.”
Under the aegis of the PGII, the United States and other G7 governments (in addition to the EU and a raft of international finance institutions and sovereign wealth funds) are aiming to unlock hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in developing markets such as the ‘Lobito Corridor’ region of Africa, with a focus on improving digital connectivity, increasing gender equality, and raising environmental standards.
According to Mr Hochstein, the concept of the Lobito Corridor (which connects Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia) is built around a vision for an integrated transportation system through which critical minerals from DRC and Zambia can be moved to global markets by train and ship: a cheaper, cleaner and quicker option than the current road-based process. Mr Hochstein argued that the project is about using digital and physical infrastructure to “connect Africa both to itself and to international markets, thereby increasing commerce, reducing prices, and supporting both local and US interests”.
The status of the Lobito Corridor as a model for collaborative international investment in specific regions is gaining traction. At the G20 Summit in India earlier in September, President Joe Biden described it as a “game-changing regional investment”.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on September 19, he argued that the Lobito Corridor will “boost regional connectivity and strengthen commerce and food security in Africa.”
The economic corridor model consists in strategically layering transformative investments across multiple sectors so as to intensify economic development, secure supply chains, and deepen regional connectivity.
As the only US-owned mobile network operator in Africa and a recipient of funding from the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Africell exemplifies opportunities for private companies to plug into multilateral investment initiatives such as the PGII/Lobito Corridor.
Africell recently partnered with USAID on a $5 million project to increase access to mobile money in Angola, a country which – despite having a mature banking sector and relatively big economy, ranks among the lowest in Africa on the GSMA’s mobile money prevalence index Further afield, in Sierra Leone, Africell has won a £1 million grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to explore expanding broadband internet provision in the west African country – a collaboration intended to advance both the PGII agenda and the US Government’s Digital Transformation with Africa initiative.
Amos Hochstein, who is a senior advisor to President Biden and a key architect of the PGII, was speaking at an event hosted by Africell in New York for officials, investors, scholars and journalists interested in the intersection of the PGII and Lobito Corridor. As the program gathers momentum, the event was an opportunity establish alignment between stakeholders from the United States, Angola, DRC, Zambia and elsewhere.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Zambia, the country’s national security advisor Dr. Lawrence Mwananyanda said that better digital connectivity is a key objective of Zambia’s involvement in the Lobito Corridor. “Zambia is land-linked, not land-locked”, he said. “Investment in digital, transportation and other essential infrastructure will have huge benefits, both for ourselves and for our trade partners around the world. We are excited to be working with the United States to identify and attract quality private sector operators who can work with local firms to create local jobs, improve skills and deliver opportunities, and we see the PGII/Lobito Corridor is an effective vehicle for this”.
Present at the event were representatives of other companies operating in the Lobito Corridor region, including Ivanhoe Mines, which oversees critical minerals projects in DRC, and Carrinho, a home-grown Angolan food company pioneering new regional standards in food origination, processing, storage, distribution and marketing.
Africell provides mobile network coverage to 20 million subscribers. We operate in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
The only US-owned mobile network operator in Africa, Africell’s social impact, entrepreneurial spirit and secure technology make us the ideal mobile partner for Africa’s future. To learn more, visit www.africell.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.
About Amos Hochstein
Amos J Hochstein serves as the White House Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment and Deputy Assistant to the President. Amos previously served at the State Department as the Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security. Amos has also held the position of Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Global Energy Security. He began his tenure with the State Department in 2011, when he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy. From 2014 to 2017 he served as Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs and led the Bureau of Energy Resources.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alpha Ibrahim Sesay, recently engaged the leadership of MUSIAD in Türkiye with the view of exploring more business opportunities for Sierra Leone.
Musaid is one of the Turkish leading business associations of the world that organize Regional Trade Meetings for creating business partnerships and developing business; bringing businessmen together in six specified incentive regions of Türkiye.
As a businessmen association that acts independently and separately both at national and international levels, the mission of the MUSIAD is to increase the number of the members that adopt pre-determined principles and values, develop solidarity among the members and contribute to material and moral development of member states.
The Sierra Leone’s Minister of Trade shared the ‘Big Five’ Priority programmes of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, saying that Agriculture, ICT, and Infrastructure were areas where he thought Turkish companies would excel in Sierra Leone.
Credit: Sierra Leone Embassy, Ankara, Türkiye
Orange Sierra Leone, the most reliable and widest telecommunications company celebrated Customer Service Week (CSW) on the theme: “One Team, One Goal” from the 2nd – 6th October, 2023.
Orange commenced the celebration of CSW with a launch witnessed by staff of the company, government representatives and the media held on Monday 2nd October, 2023 at the Orange Headquarters, Regent Road, Hill Station in Freetown.
Speaking at the event, Orange Chief Executive Officer, Sekou Amadou Bah, underscored the importance of the CSW, pointing out that Orange is striving every day to be better in the service of their customers.
He further acknowledged the role of the call center team, back office, shops, agents, amongst others, in all corners of Sierra Leone to deliver services to customers.
According to him, CSW is a celebration of their core values, reflection of their journey so far and a time to purse and take a step back to appreciate achievements.
A representative of the Ministry of Communications, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Abdulai Sankoh, commended Orange on its strides in ensuring network connectivity nationwide. He further underscored the importance of bridging the digital divide and the role of Artificial Intelligence and Technology in promoting innovation and technology in the country.
“Today we join the rest of the world to celebrate Customer Service Week. It is one of the most important weeks of the year from the 2nd to 6th of October 2023. It is time for us to highlight the great work that Orange Sierra Leone employees do for our customers. I also believe it’s time to think about our customers as well. Hence, it’s a great time to ask the important question. What does our customers want.
Customers actually want a great experience and customer service play a big part of that. It goes beyond the frontline interacting with customers. As proven by our Customer Perception Day launch for 69 Days flat that has become an iconic activity not just for us in OSL but also for Orange as a Group. I would like us to put our hands together for the great strive we have made together to becoming the most customer centric / transversal company in the group and I believe in Sierra
Leone as well. It shows that Customer Service goes beyond just a Department. It is the responsibility of every employee to give our customers whether internal or external a good experience. This is why I believe that Customer Experience is a philosophy that has become a part of our company’s culture. Every employee has an impact on the Customer Service and Experience an organization provide to its customers. Customers are people and they just want to be treated right. As a
company we want to be better in customer service, we want to do something different, we want to be different for our customers, We wanted to be transparent by interacting directly with our customer [live chat / my customer my boss] to establish trust. We wanted our customers to love us. At the same time, we know we are not perfect but we were ready to face our fears with a goal to serve our customers better by ensuring that we fix things when they go wrong.
I have come to realize even more that its so amazing to serve people and humanity and that is through customer service. But what is more important are the impressions we live behind during every interaction which is a unique opportunity for our customer to form an opinion.
This is why this day is important because our Agents at every touch point have to come to work and put on a smile on their faces every day and be nice even when they are having a bad day.
This is why AI is important; where the convergence of AI and human creativity promises a harmonious future.
AI is revolutionizing customer service and transforming the way organizations manage customer experience. As a customer experience leader, it’s crucial to understand the potential of AI and how to leverage it effectively to elevate and not deduct from the customer journey.
A focus on using AI on delivering positive CX is not just good for business, its good for society as a whole.
The questions is not why AI to complement CX but why not AI to complement CX? This is why Orange Sierra Leone must make the conscious steps to take advantage of AI to improve our service delivery and commitment to our customers.
The public sector being the world’s largest service provider, any improvement in public services will positively impact millions of people. Hence, it doesn’t matter whether you are in the private or public sector. Consumers want you to know them, to understand what goals they are trying to accomplish by doing business with you.
Today’s theme is [One Team, One Goal] which is the ability to work together towards a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives,” Orange Customer Experience Director, Alpha Bundu, stated.
Employees of Standard Chartered Bank gathered outside the bank’s headquarters yesterday Thursday 14th October, 2023 in Freetown, to stage a protest demanding their long-awaited terminal benefits.
The protest comes in the wake of a recent court ruling that ordered the bank to pay a substantial sum of US5.5 million (NLE 124,018,730.55) to its former employees.
It could be recalled that on 6th October, 2023, the High Court of Sierra Leone, with Justice Hannah Bonnie presiding, issued an order mandating Standard Chartered Bank to disburse the substantial sum within a seven-day timeframe.
The court’s decision was met with a mixture of relief and jubilation by the bank’s former employees, who had been waiting for their terminal benefits for a considerable period.
However, the Standard Chartered Bank is not taking the court’s ruling lightly. In response, the bank has sought leave to appeal the order, with their case being heard by Justice Jamesina King.
The matter has been adjourned to Wednesday 18th October, 2023, for further proceedings, leaving both the bank and its former employees in a state of uncertainty.
The legal battle has captured the attention of many, not only within the financial sector but also in Sierra Leone as a whole. The outcome of the appeal will have significant implications for the bank’s former employees, as well as set a precedent for similar cases in the country.
As the legal saga continues, employees remain determined in their quest for the much-needed terminal benefits, while Standard Chartered Bank’s legal team strategizes its appeal, ensuring that this case remains in Sierra Leone’s financial and legal circles.
In an official public notice released yesterday Tuesday 3rd October, 2023, the Ministry of Finance has revealed the schedule for the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) Budget Preparation Process.
By Yusufu Sesay
The Ministry of Finance Technical Committee 2 in the ongoing Bilateral Budget Discussions on Thursday 12th October, 2023 unanimously approved the proposed budget of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for the Financial Year 2024, amounting to NLe139, 009,683 (One Hundred and Thirty-nine Million, Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty-three Leones).
The approval hearing was held at the conference room of the Ministry of Finance at Treasury Building on George Street in Freetown.
Speaking at the ongoing budget hearings, the Director General of SLRA, Ing. Amara Kanneh, disclosed that the mission of the public institution is to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable national road system for the enhancement of the socio-economic development of the country.
The Director General said the proposed FY2024 budget comprised operation/administrative costs in a bid to improve organizational efficiency for the development and maintenance of all roads and related structures on the national road network.
Ing. Amara Kanneh said government is desirous of developing a sustainable and cost-effective road maintenance strategy with the aim that strategic roads are passable throughout the year.
According to him, government will construct roads that lead to touristic areas in a bid to boost the tourism industry, as well as roads leading to productive agricultural areas.
The Director General said the policy pronouncement on infrastructure was considered during the FY2024 budget preparation for roads development and maintenance management.
He highlighted SLRA’s key deliverables for the construction and maintenance of selected roads, including Tikonko – Mattru, Kambia - Tompari – Kamakwie, Kailahun – Koindu, and township roads in Kenema, Makeni, Port Loko, Bo, Freetown amongst other roads.
Ing. Kanneh further gave assurance to the Technical Committee that the Lumley - Tokeh Road and Hill Bypass Road will be completed this year, noting that if the money requested by the Authority is granted, most of the road maintenance and monitoring would be done.
Orange Mobile Telecommunications Company has made an unprecedented move in Sierra Leone's telecommunications industry by launching its cutting-edge 5G technology. With the trial taking place in Freetown's Central Business District, Orange Sierra Leone (OSL) aims to revolutionise connectivity in the country and provide faster and more reliable data transmission for its customers. The technology is also expected to propel Sierra Leone into a new era of advanced telecommunications infrastructure.
Sekou Amadou Bah, CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, emphasised the significance of this 5G trial during the launch, stating that it has the potential to catalyse rapid technological advancement and economic development for the country.
“Introducing the 5G trial holds immense importance as it can build the pathway to catalyse rapid technological advancement and economic development that will enable the Internet of Things to reach full potential,” Sekou Amadou Bah said.
The deployment of 5G by Orange Sierra Leone marks a major milestone in Sierra Leone's telecommunications landscape. With its promise of ultra-fast speeds, low latency, and enhanced network capacity, 5G is set to transform the way people connect and communicate.
Furthermore, the introduction of 5G technology is not only beneficial to individual consumers but also supports various industries such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and agriculture. The CEO highlighted the potential of 5G to enhance communication and enable transformative digital services that will positively impact these sectors.
“Undoubtedly, 5G technology has the potential to enhance communication and enable transformative digital services that will positively impact various sectors like education, health, manufacturing, and commercial agriculture,” Sekou Amadou Bah affirmed.
Sekou Drame, CEO of Orange Sonatel, mentioned during his remarks that Orange Sierra Leone has invested considerable resources to ensure the successful rollout of this cutting-edge technology. He stated that this aligns with the government's priorities to drive investment in technology, infrastructure, and digitalization.
“I am delighted that Orange Sierra Leone is providing leadership in setting the technology standard baseline for 5G by rolling out this cutting-edge pilot stage on our network in line with a corporate vision of becoming the first in class mobile internet service provider in Sierra Leone. As the government commits to implement the five big game changers, this technological milestone for Orange Sierra Leone is in alignment with the Government’s vision to drive investment in technology, infrastructure and digitalization,” Sekou Drame said.
Chief Minister David Sengeh praised Orange Sierra Leone for aligning the company’s vision with Sierra Leone's commitment to digital inclusion. He recognized the company’s investment in this advanced infrastructure as a demonstration of their unwavering commitment to meeting the evolving needs of their clients and positioning Sierra Leone at the forefront of telecommunications development.
Experts predict that the OSL 5G network will have a transformative impact on various sectors, including e-commerce, entertainment, and communication. This advanced infrastructure also has the potential to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth in the country.
Fatmata Kargbo, a loyal Orange subscriber for 13 years, expressed her excitement for the introduction of 5G technology, stating that it sets a new standard for connectivity in the country. She believes that this cutting-edge technology will unlock tremendous opportunities for both consumers and businesses, offering seamless connectivity, faster data speeds, and enhanced capabilities.
Overall, the launch of Orange Sierra Leone's 5G technology represents a significant step towards advancing telecommunications in Sierra Leone, bringing the country into a new era of connectivity and supporting its economic development goals.