Orange announced plans to diversify its Africa business by expanding its play in the energy sector and launching full retail banking services across eight markets.
In separate statements, the company outlined plans to extend its role in electricity provision into five new markets and unveiled moves to expand into retail banking in eight countries in western Africa.
Orange, which has telecoms operations in 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa and around 130 million customers in the region, already provides solar energy kits in rural areas in Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The company said following its successful adoption in these countries, it would expand the service into Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. It supplies the service and equipment both through direct sales channels and on a wholesale basis to public authorities.
Orange said the energy sector was a significant opportunity for diversification in Africa, adding in some areas on the continent it was “particularly difficult to access reliable sources of electricity.” In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, “70 per cent of the population does not have access to the power grid and power cuts are frequent, even in large cities.”
In comments reported by Financial Times (FT) Orange also revealed it had applied for a retail banking licence to launch services in eight markets in western Africa.
Deputy CEO for Africa and the Middle East, Bruno Mettling, told FT the company planned to launch mobile-focused consumer banking services in eight countries, but would not offer investment or corporate services on the platform.
The service will run alongside Orange Money in the countries where both operate.