- "The commercial marks of Alizé, Sentoo and Keurgui TV in Senegal and the Sonatel department in Mali are to adopt a joint name: Orange," according to statements by the General Director of Senegal's Sonatel company. The name is lent from Sonatel's main shareholder, France Télécom.
General Director Cheikh Tidiane Mbaye on Wednesday told the Senegalese press in Dakar that many of the formerly state-owned company's operations would change colour and branding into "Orange". He announced the "change of visual identity of all the activities within the sector of mobiles, Internet and broadcasting" where Sonatel is engaged in Mali and Senegal.
Mr Mbaye held it was necessary to "unite into an international brand to strengthen its commercial potentials" and considered Orange being a brand of "international reference present in 166 countries with an ample fame." The Sonatel leader added that the decision had only been taken following a large number of debates and almost 18 months of viability studies.
The Sonatel chief however also recognised that the current level of services offered by his company did not meet expectations of neither costumers nor Sonatel. But he assured that from today, with the rights to the brand Orange being conceded from majority shareholder France Télécom to Sonatel, "essential parts of our efforts will focus on an improvement of the quality of the networks."
The Senegal-based company during the last year has presented quarterly revenue reports around 75 billion franc CFA (euro 114 million).
At this stage, therefore, Sonatel's objectives were to offer its clients "a new generation of services" based on convergences that already were technologically possible, including fixed lines, mobile networks, the Internet and broadcasting. But according to Mr Mbaye, "only one global telecom operator can offer all these perspectives of evolution to its clients."
Asked about the costs of this new move, the director did not want to go into details and limited himself to emphasise that shareholder France Télécom had supported the change of colour in several ways, also financially. He added that Sonatel was investing into this transformation to make more revenues.
Being the dominant market leader in Senegal and holding around 75 percent of national subscribers, Sonatel hopes to be able to increase the customer basis even more by this change of branding. In Mali, Sonatel is the most important private player on the telecom market, and along with France Télécom owned Ikatel, it challenges the state company Sotelma. Here, all Sonatel operations will change name to Orange.
In Senegal, however, the mother company will not change its name and Sonatel "remains the brand of the company," Mr Mbaye underlined. No legal changes for employees or regional offices therefore would have to be implemented, he explained.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.