Motswana Wins Orange Innovation Award

Kabo Ratladi (right) receiving the prize in Egypt last week
Kabo Ratladi (right) receiving the prize in Egypt last week

FarmConnecta, a Botswana-based start-up that has developed an information sharing and billing system designed for the agricultural community, has won the Orange AMEA Developers Challenge and received a prize valued at 10,000 euros.

The 2015 Orange AMEA Developers Challenge was launched in August in France and 11 other countries in Africa and the Middle East including Botswana, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
The purpose of the challenge is to help stimulate innovation in Africa by offering start-ups the possibility of using Orange’s application programming interfaces to enrich their applications with functionalities that are sometimes essential, such as billing or texting.

The call for applications attracted 1,200 innovative projects.

 The proposed projects illustrated the potential of telecommunications for regional development in fields as varied as healthcare, agriculture, education and energy.


Initially, 10 projects per country were chosen for the shortlist. Twelve finalist projects were then chosen by a selection panel composed of experts from Orange and from the Information Technologies and Communications industry.

From the shortlist, Kabo Ratladi’s FarmConnecta   project came out top and received the prize at a ceremony held in Cairo, Egypt this week.

Ratladi created a mobile marketplace dedicated to livestock trading. Users can access market data and locate lost cattle via a simple mobile telephone. FarmConnecta takes full advantage of the Texting and Billing APIs to revolutionise m-agri applications in Botswana and potentially everywhere in Africa.

The goal of innovation is to assist farmers benefit from using an easy to understand and a more convenient marketing solution, which puts them in direct contact with the market, hence allowing them to earn income from their livestock without the need of a middleman and therefore improving their livelihood.

In second place was the Nilebot start-up from Egypt, which uses a hardware and software solution for real-time measurements of water quality in aquaculture. All the collected data is sent via text message in real time, helping aquaculture professionals to be more proactive and to improve their productivity.

This Challenge marks the acceleration of Orange’s Open Innovation initiative in Africa and the Middle East by opening up the group’s technical platforms and providing support for local developer ecosystems through its Orange Partner program.

 Orange offers access to the Texting API in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Niger and Senegal, and to the USSD and Billing APIs in Egypt.

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 39 billion euros in 2014 and 157,000 employees worldwide as at September 30, 2015, including 98,000 employees in France.

Present in 28 countries, the group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide as at September 30, 2015, including 200 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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