Orange acquires Burkina Faso’s 2nd largest mobile operator

Orange, together with its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire, has completed the acquisition of 100 percent of Burkina Faso’s second largest mobile operator Airtel following an agreement with Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV, as the French telco continues its expansion in Africa.

“We are pleased to announce that the acquisition of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso has been finalised. This new acquisition will further strengthen the Group’s positions on the African continent,” said Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange group and Chairman & CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa) in a statement.

The deal gives Orange a strong foothold in Burkina Faso, a country of 18 million inhabitants, 26 percent of whom are on the Airtel network. Also, on the mobile financial services market, Airtel is the uncontested leader and is already interoperable with Orange Money in neighbouring countries, allowing international transfers to be made. Airtel is also positioned as the country’s leading Internet provider thanks to its extensive 3.75G network, which has been rolled out in over 100 towns.

Orange intends to build on the gains already made by Airtel, with investments in the coming years targeted at enabling customers in Burkina Faso to take advantage of the Orange group’s expertise and momentum in terms of innovation and development of the digital ecosystem, thus responding to a strong expectation from the upwardly mobile Burkinabes.

A statement by Orange also said that the acquisition in Burkina Faso, one of the countries with the strongest growth rates in the Economic Community of West African States (5.8 percent annual growth of GDP) strengthens Orange’s presence in Africa by confirming is proactive strategy in the African market. The West African nation is the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group.

The company is already in talks with Millicom International Cellular SA to buy some of the emerging-market focused company’s operations in Africa. It acquired Tigo, Millicom’s mobile operator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in April.