Orange to sell electricity to rural Africa via mobilemoney

French telco, energy supplier detail partnership deal that could see Orange sell electricity and bill via Orange Money.

Orange announced late last week that it has signed a new partnership deal with Engie that will see the two companies expand the supply of electricity to rural Africa and optimise the power supply to Orange's infrastructure in the continent.

The telco said it will work with French multinational power utility Engie, known as GDF Suez until earlier this year, to trial a range of domestic power supply solutions for rural populations that could then be marketed by Orange.

The trials could cover individual solar power kits and small-scale local electricity networks, Orange said. The firms will look at the technical aspect of such solutions, as well as sales and distribution models, and economic feasibility, before making them available on a larger scale.

Orange will look at billing for power supply through its Orange Money mobile financial services platform.

"Orange and Engie are keen to play their role as socially responsible players in Africa, where an estimated 69% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa and 90% of the rural population in the same region have no access to the electricity grid," the partners said, in a statement, citing a 2014 BearingPoint study.

The partnership will also look at Orange's own power needs in Africa. Engie will help the telco improve its energy efficiency when it comes to the power supply to its telecoms infrastructure.

Orange said it aims to reduce its energy costs in Africa despite rapidly growing power requirements.