Orange launches digital bank to expand financial services in West Africa
Orange said it aims to attract 10 million customers and €100 million in net banking income within five years.
Twelve years after the launch of the Orange Money transfer and payment service, the French telecoms giant, Orange, has launched a digital banking service, called Orange Bank Africa. On Thursday, the company said it would initially deploy the service in the four target countries for Orange Money (Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire) where it has almost 20 million active customers.
The first commercial launch last week was in Côte d’Ivoire, which is the head office of the bank. Orange said it aims to attract 10 million customers and €100 million in net banking income within five years.
Orange Bank Africa was launched through a partnership with NSIA Group, an Ivorian bancassurance company. Orange said it collaborated with NSIA to boost financial inclusion in West Africa. The initiative is also part of the telecoms company's strategy to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa.
The digital bank is expected to provide its customers access to savings and micro-credit services at all times via mobile phones, Orange said. According to the French company, it only takes a few seconds to open an Orange Bank Africa account. Orange also said the service would address the needs of a large part of the population, often excluded from the world of conventional banking.
“New technology is needed to strengthen financial inclusion and support economic development, as proven by mobile money over the past few years," said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange. "Banking is a new area of business for Orange in Africa. It falls squarely in line with our strategy as a multi-service operator and our desire to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa."
Orange has expanded to about 20 African countries and the Middle East as part of a strategy to boost its revenue given the saturated and static markets in Europe – the company’s home continent. It reported sales of €42 billion in 2019 from its global operations.
“For the past 25 years, NSIA Group has been developing bank and insurance solutions to address the needs of African people and make them available to as many people as possible,” said Jean Kacou Diagou, CEO of NSIA. “We know that electronic banking is vital for the financial inclusion of our customers. We are proud to have combined our expertise and human capital with that of Orange to create the fully digital Orange Bank Africa.”
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