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French telecommunications company Orange and energy utility company ENGIE announced on Friday a partnership to expand the electrical grid in Africa and optimize the energy supply to Orange’s infrastructure in the area.

Under the partnership, the pair will use Orange’s carrier expertise and ENGIE’s experience with renewable energy to develop and trial a range of domestic power supply solutions for rural populations that could then be marketed by Orange. Possible options may include solar kits and small-scale electricity networks that could be billed through mobile devices using Orange Money, the companies said.

The agreement will also see ENGIE help Orange optimize the power supply to its infrastructure in Africa and improve its energy efficiency.

The move is a strategic bid for Orange - which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East – as it looks to cement a stable and secure power supply, reduce its energy consumption and “contain costs despite rapidly growing energy requirements,” the release said.

The partnership will also benefit ENGIE, which is aiming to become one of Africa’s major energy suppliers by 2025. The company currently supplies 760 MW of power to the continent and has a business unit dedicated to furthering operations there.

According to an October forecast from GSMA, the number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow to 504 million with a 49 percent penetration rate by 2020, an increase of 193 million from 2013.

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