“Orange wants to be much more than a telecoms operator in Africa. We want to be a provider of essential services for our customers.” – Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.
As part of its diversification plan in Africa, Orange, one of the world’s leading telecom operators is expanding its electrification program for rural communities on the continent. This was announced at the recently concluded Africa CEO Forum that was held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. At the event, the group confirmed its desire to become a key player in the energy transition sector in Africa, by providing services to the general public and to public operators.
Half the percentage of Africa’s population, over 600 million people, lack access to electricity, particularly the rural areas of sub-Saharan and West Africa; Orange seeks to reduce this percentage by extending its already launched solar energy services to five West-African countries, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Not too long ago, the company launched Orange Energie and Mijro, services to provide solar energy to rural communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar. It is this service that it’s set to replicate in other African countries within its footprint.
The service is offered in the form of a kit that includes a solar panel, a battery, LED light bulbs, and a kit to recharge radio, television and phones. The kits are provided by selected partners in each of the countries; BBOXX in the Democratic Republic of Congo, D Light in Madagascar and Niwa in Burkina Faso, all of whom are known for the quality of their products and their ability to respond to a massive demand.
The kits which come in different packages to suit the pace and capacity of different households are easily set up by installing a solar panel on the roof and a control unit in the house. Users also benefit from a full guarantee from Orange, which covers the entire installation, maintenance and repairs, in conjunction with technical partners.
The monthly subscriptions start at USD 15 for example in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Payment via Orange Money makes it possible to automatically grant or re-establish the service remotely for the requested period. This innovative service makes solar energy more widely accessible thanks to the great flexibility of mobile payments.
According to Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, the development of solutions such as Orange Energie that gives people access to everyday essentials such as sustainable energy is a strong message that proves the company’s hope and plans for the continent. “We think first and foremost of children who will be able to do their homework in the evening, but also of professionals who will gain in efficiency thanks to more readily available energy.”
The company plans to reach a new milestone with the launch of the Orange Energie service in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, and the distribution of 12,000 kits in the first quarter of 2018. This development will be just in time for the Football World Cup in June. In the next five years, Orange plans to expand its sustainable energy services across every African country within its footprint, selling hundreds of thousands of its solar kits.