As Côte d’Ivoire grows and recovers, policymakers and business leaders are turning their attention to its telecommunications industry. Second only in size to agriculture, the telecoms sector accounts for about 6 per cent of the country’s total output.
With about 18 million subscriptions out of a population of 22 million, it has a mobile penetration rate of approximately 80 per cent, big enough to make it dynamic, but significantly lower than in so-called mature markets.
Offering mobile coverage to nearly all of the country’s population is not enough to maintain a leadership position, according to Mamadou Bamba, CEO of Côte d’Ivoire’s largest mobile provider, Orange-Côte d'Ivoire
Telecom. “The strength of Orange is having succeeded not only in covering 95 per cent of the population, but in constantly innovating and offering quality service to our customers.”
Mr Bamba sees future growth in the demand for 3G wireless data, as well as in Africa’s booming mobile banking market. Orange’s banking and payment service, Orange Money, now has 2.5 million users and 200,000 transactions daily.
In terms of Orange’s social mission, its Orange Foundation focuses on three key areas of commitment: health, education and culture. Focusing on very badly needed infrastructure, in 2012 the foundation launched an ambitious initiative to bring one source of clean potable water, one health clinic and one school to villages that currently have none.
The foundation has completed 276 of these projects in the past two years and more are ongoing.