June 20, 2019 / 4:20 PM / 8 months ago

Orange to invest more than $300 mln in Ivory Coast over two years

ABIDJAN, June 20 (Reuters) - The Ivory Coast unit of French telecoms group Orange aims to invest 180 billion CFA francs ($312 million) this year and next to improve its network and provide new services, its director said on Thursday.

Orange Cote d’Ivoire, West African nation’s mobile telecommunications industry leader with more than 13 million subscribers, planned to improve internet speed in particular, Director Mamadou Bamba told Reuters.

“The priority is the extension of 4G coverage which has become indispensable,” he said, adding that another focus would be expanding into banking and energy services.

“We hope to get the banking licence from the central bank in June so that we can start microcredits from 2020 with Orange Bank,” Bamba said.

Orange Cote d’Ivoire’s revenue in 2018 was 538 billion CFA francs, little changed from the previous year. It is expected to rise 2% in 2019, Bamba said, citing increased market competition.

Its competitors in the wireless sector include South Africa’s MTN and Maroc Telecom-owned Moov.

$1 = 577.5000 CFA francs Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Edmund Blair

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