Orange is aiming 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 group already provides a service offering rural populations access to solar energy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar, and is extending this service in Burkina Faso and further ahead in Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
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. Committed to providing access to energy for many years, Orange has chosen to contribute to the challenge of electrifying Africa in countries within its footprint.
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 forwards in the deployment of its electrification programme for rural zones by launching the service in Burkina Faso.
Offered in the form of a kit including a solar panel, a battery and accessories (LED lightbulbs, kit to recharge several telephones, a radio and/or television), the equipment is provided by partners (BBOXX in the Democratic Republic of Congo, D Light in Madagascar and Niwa in Burkina Faso) selected by Orange for the quality of their products and their ability to respond to a massive demand.
The solar kits that Orange is offering 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’s required is 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.
Several packages exist to suit the pace of each household’s life with daily, weekly or quarterly subscriptions. The monthly subscriptions start at for example US$15 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.
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.
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 massive 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.