Orange is launching its mobile banking operations in Cote d’Ivoire, making it the third country after France and Spain to accept the firm’s digital lending capabilities.
Orange’s mobile money transfer services, Orange Money, is already in use in Africa by 50 million customers across approximately 15 African countries.
The impact of Orange Money on the global market is why, in 2017, the company decided to diversify into digital banking.
The company’s goal is to sign up ten million customers in Côte d’Ivoire in the next five years and then expand into the West African countries of Senegal, Mali, Burkina and Faso, a report by Reuters says.
Orange is partnering with the West African bank Groupe NSIA for the project.
Jean Kacou Diagou, CEO of NSIA said, “I am very pleased that the partnership between Orange and NSIA has resulted in the creation of Orange Bank Africa. 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.
“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.”
Banking operations in the Côte d’Ivoire will focus on small-scale lending to entrepreneurs, farmers and young professionals or couples, with loans starting from US$8.88.
The company’s ability to manage digital platforms and approve loans within seconds for small credits gives Orange an edge over traditional lenders.
Although the company has shown strong growth within Europe, it has still failed to produce a profit.
“We think that profitability will be achieved … more quickly than in France,” Paul de Leusse, CEO of Orange said.