World leading telecommunications firm, Orange has reiterated its desire to become a key player in the energy transition sector in Africa, by providing services directly to the general public or as a wholesaler to public operators.
The firm, which already offers rural populations access to solar energy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar stated this at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday.
Orange disclosed that with the launch of the service in Burkina Faso, it would further extend it to Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.
“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,” says Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.
He said 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. “Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of the population does not have access to the power grid and power cuts are frequent, even in large cities.”
“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.”
According to Mettling, the rural electrification kit include a solar panel, a battery and accessories (LED lightbulbs, kit to recharge several telephones, a radio and/or television).
“The solar kits that Orange is offering 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 you need to do is install 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.”
He said several packages exist to suit the pace of each household’s life with daily, weekly or quarterly subscriptions.
“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.”
Africa has a population of 1.2 billion, but 50% do not have access to electricity. In rural areas, far from the national electrical networks, this rate reaches 82% of the population, i.e. over 600 million people, making it particularly important to bring electricity to these zones.