International mobile operator Orange has announced that it is aiming to become a key player in energy transition in Africa. After the launch of Orange Energie in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December 2017, then Mijro in Madagascar in February, Orange now is moving forward with the deployment of its electrification programme for rural zones by launching the service in Burkina Faso, the company said at the Africa CEO Forum, which was held recently in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Offered in the form of a kit including a solar panel, a battery and accessories, including LED lightbulbs and a kit to recharge several telephones, a radio and/or television, the equipment is provided by partners. Currently, these include BBOXX in the Democratic Republic of Congo, D Light in Madagascar and Niwa in Burkina Faso.

Orange expands African energy offering

The solar kits are robust and can light up a whole house, charge the household’s mobile phones, and power a radio or even a television. Quick and easy to set-up, all that is needed is a solar panel installed on the roof and a control unit in the house. Orange provides a full guarantee, covering the entire installation, maintenance and repairs.

“Orange wants to be much more than a telecoms operator in Africa. We want to be a provider of essential services for our customers. The development of solutions that allow as many people as possible to access everyday essentials such as sustainable energy is a strong message in this direction. 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,”  says Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.

He says that a new milestone will be reached in the first quarter of 2018 with the distribution of 12 000 “Orange Energie” kits and the launch of the service in four new countries – Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire – for the Football World Cup in June. “The next step will involve the deployment of the Orange Energie service in other countries across Orange’s footprint, and the sale of several hundred thousand kits in the next five years, particularly through the extension of the partnership already established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with BBOXX.”

According to Mettling, The energy sector is a significant opportunity for Orange's plan for diversification in Africa where it is particularly difficult to access reliable sources of electricity. Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it has over 130 million customers.

The company offers several energy packages, tailored to “suit the pace of each household’s life” with daily, weekly or quarterly subscriptions. Payment via Orange Money makes it possible to automatically grant or re-establish the service remotely for the requested period.

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