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Interview/Nafy Silué, Deputy MD of Orange Cote d'Ivoire : ‘’We are a successful player for the group in Africa’’

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Nafy Silué, Deputy MD of Orange Cote d'Ivoire :

We are a successful player for Orange group in Africa

 

Nafy Silué was appointed a little over a month ago as Deputy Managing Director of Orange Cote d'Ivoire and is responsible for the development of the Orange cluster in Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Liberia. A great promotion for the one that was at the heart of the meteoric rise of the Ivorian operator to the rank of group with the acquisition of its two subsidiaries in 2016.

Recruited 15 years ago, Nafy Silué rose through the ranks, promoted as Marketing Director of Orange Cote d'Ivoire in 2015, before being entrusted in 2018 with the brand new management of the cluster, responsible for accompanying the new subsidiaries in Liberia and Burkina Faso. After having led the OIC transformation program, which has now become a "multi-service operator", she took over the management of the cluster, which is being acclaimed as the second largest contributor of the French group in Africa and Middle East region.

In this exclusive interview granted to Sika Finance, she talks about her new challenges as well as the plans for a group that does not exclude the idea of new acquisitions.

 

You have just been appointed Deputy Managing Director of Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group, an operator with subsidiaries in Burkina Faso and Liberia. What does Orange represent in each of these markets?

The Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group is indeed a regional cluster composed of the subsidiaries of Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Liberia. We are leaders in each of these markets and at the end of 2019 we achieved an overall turnover of more than 780 billion CFA francs, making the Orange Cote d'Ivoire Cluster the second most successful player in the Orange Group in the Africa/Middle East area.

The Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group is the second most successful player in Orange Group in the Africa/Middle East region.

In Cote d'Ivoire, we are leaders in the main performance indicators, Main line, Mobile, Internet and Mobile Money. As a committed digital operator, we have been driving innovation in Cote d'Ivoire for more than 10 years: 1st operator to launch the Mobile Money service, very high speed networks with 3G, 4G, Optic Fiber, TV services via mobile, access to electricity in remote areas with Orange Energie, etc. We contribute 11% of Ivorian GDP and play an important role in the economy.

In Burkina Faso, where we have been operating since 2016, in 2017 we succeeded in conquering the leading position in Mobile (where we have + 9 million customers and 95% coverage of the population) and Mobile Money (with 3 million active mobile money accounts).

We contribute 11% of Ivorian GDP.

On the Liberian side, Mamadou Coulibaly, who recently joined Burkina Faso, has established Orange Liberia's leadership in the mobile market with more than 2 million customers at the end of 2019. The leading 4G operator in Liberia, Orange Liberia is also targeting leadership in mobile money launched in 2017.

In each of these markets, we are also a leading social player through our initiatives, particularly in the fields of health, education and entrepreneurship, among others.

 

In particular, you are responsible for the management of the Cote d'Ivoire cluster (including the subsidiaries of Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Liberia). What is your mission at the head of this entity?

My main mission is to stimulate and supervise the development of the strategic plan of the Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group in the Africa/Middle East region; it will be a matter of reconciling economic performance with a sustainable approach to customers, employees, stakeholders, partners and the whole of society.

My main mission is to spur and supervise the development of the strategic plan of the Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group in the Africa/Middle East region.

We have a very strong requirement on the satisfaction of our customers and even more on the recommendation of our customers. This is why Orange Cote d'Ivoire brings its marketing, commercial and technical expertise to enhance the important network in Burkina Faso and Liberia. We also attach particular importance to fostering synergy and skills development, team mobility and exchanges of expertise on new trades within the three countries.

 

Orange has the Senegalese based Sonatel model that shines in 5 markets in West Africa. Does the Orange Cote d'Ivoire Group have an ambition to expand into new markets?

That is clearly the case. Since 2016, the acquisition of the subsidiaries of Burkina Faso and Liberia has been part of Orange Cote d'Ivoire's international development strategy, which aims to accelerate its growth by penetrating new high-potential emerging markets, but also to make Orange Cote d'Ivoire a key player in the development of telecoms in the subregion.

At this time, we are continuing our efforts to fully integrate these subsidiaries; however, we remain very attentive to other opportunities for growth because we have a permanent watch on everything that happens on the continent.

(...) we are continuing our efforts to achieve complete success in integrating these subsidiaries; however, we remain very attentive to other growth opportunities because we have a permanent watch on everything that happens on the continent.

 

When publishing its results in the 1st semester, the group presented the Orange Cote d'Ivoire cluster as one of the first contributors to its performance in the Africa/Middle East region. How do you understand this recognition ?

It is a great pride, especially as these results have been achieved in a particular context that we all suffer. As a telecom operator, the Covid-19 crisis that we are going through has confirmed the central place that we occupy in the daily lives of the people.

Connectivity requirements have increased dramatically and, in the face of their high demands, we have sized our networks to keep them available and with the highest quality of service. Once again, I would like to congratulate all the teams, technical and commercial, who have taken all the steps to ensure continuity of services and Internet connectivity for all, in order to continue to work remotely and stay close to our families.

It is this work that has brought results and the recognition thus expressed invites us to be more ardent and vigilant in order to keep the direction.

 

With the saturation of "traditional" phone calls, operators are betting more than ever on new growth relays and are making significant investments in this direction. For example, Sonatel has mobilized 100 billion CFA francs for this purpose. What are the major development projects in your markets?

In Africa, all operators are facing a decline in revenues from “traditional” phone calls. On the other hand, data has developed well and in this field, our networks and growth relays become major axes of development.

We rely first on technical infrastructure and a quality of service in order to offer networks that are more and more efficient for an increasingly wide coverage.

We rely first on technical infrastructure and a quality of service in order to offer networks that are more and more efficient for an increasingly wide coverage.

In Cote d'Ivoire, for example, we have committed more than 180 billion CFA francs over two years (since 2019) to improve the network and provide new services in the country (deployment of Optic Fiber inside the country, extension of 4G coverage, network coverage of rural areas, etc.).

In Liberia and Burkina Faso, we have also committed more than 130 billion CFA francs per year to develop innovation, support local entrepreneurship and fund many social projects.

Beyond networks, we also make a point of developing our strategy as a multi-service operator through our growth relays: mobile financial services, banking, energy and content.

 

The future of the telecom sector is mainly 5G. In some countries, operators have announced tests, including Sonatel. What are your prospects in this field ?

We do know of successful experiments in some African countries since the end of 2018: Lesotho, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco. We also hear about launches since the end of the first half of 2020, in South Africa and Madagascar.

In Cote d'Ivoire, we have carried out (and continue to do so) major network works whose main objective has been to replace the equipment with new generation and better performance; this evolution responds to the growing needs of customers and our ambition to provide always innovative services. Equipment processing capacities have therefore been strengthened in order to anticipate the increase in traffic and the networks of the future.

However, beyond these technical aspects, several prerequisites remain essential in order to better prepare the populations for the experiment of 5G ...

However, beyond these technical aspects, several prerequisites remain essential in order to prepare the population as well as possible for the experimentation of this new technology in Cote d'Ivoire: access costs, regulatory framework, digital governance, etc.

Jean Mermoz Konandi

Publié le 20/11/20 16:56

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