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Orange Digital Ventures invests in Africa to deepen clients’ expansion strategies

The Orange investment fund initiative for Africa known as Orange Digital Ventures Africa (ODVA), launched last June has announced its first investment designed to help Africa’s Talking (AT) to raise $8.6 million alongside the IFC World Bank and Social Capital.

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa’s Talking is currently the leading company providing access to telecom operators’ communication and payment APIs (programming interfaces) for developers. It is now the favourite solution of many Kenyan startups and over 15,000 developers, many of which rely on these APIs including SMS, voice and USSD to design services that are revolutionising financial, energy, health and insurance services among others.

The transaction is subject to the usual conditions precedent, including the approval of Kenya’s competent authorities.

Upon completion, Africa’s Talking plans to accelerate its internationalisation to support its clients’ expansion strategies. Beyond Kenya, the company has started working in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

According to Marc Rennard, Chairman of Orange Digital Ventures, “We are delighted that the first beneficiary of our African initiative is a recognised player providing access to operators’ APIs. We believe that it is essential to support every initiative that aims to make these APIs more accessible to entrepreneurs in Africa. The expansion of these mobile services is one of the key ways to help generate new innovations that will have an impact on the continent. What is more, this investment strengthens Orange’s position as leader in the ongoing mobile revolution. We look forward to seeing Africa’s Talking accelerate its pan-African expansion”.

Also speaking, CEO and co-founder of Africa’s Talking, Samuel Gikandi averred that “This new round of fundraising will enable us to grow our pan-African community of Software Developers building businesses that consume communication and payment services. In this context, the arrival of Orange Digital Ventures is excellent news for Africa’s Talking. We intend to leverage this relationship to accelerate our expansion in countries where Orange is present and launch new products that deepen the engagement of Orange with Software Developers”.