Azur Gabon, La Poste SA sign strategic partnership
By Issa Sikiti da Silva
Mobile operator Azur Gabon signed a partnership last week with Gabon postal company La Poste SA, an agreement they say will give Azur the right to use La Poste’s national telephone network to get closer to its customers.
The signing ceremony took place in the capital Libreville.
Azur will from now on make use of national telephones of La Poste’s 70 offices nationwide.
The aim, as La Poste SA boss put it, is 'to gain the trust of future customers and meet our expectations in a win-win partnership between our two companies'.
Many observers believe the agreement is strategic and will, against all odds, reinforce customers’ confidence in the mobile operator, which is said to be still searching for a place in the Gabonese sun six years after it made a triumphal entry in this highly competitive mobile market.
Airtel is Gabon leader with 1.2 million users out of an adult population of 1.9 million people.
Commenting on the agreement, Azur Gabon boss Georges Akoury said the agreement would, among others, help Azur provide an adequate coverage to its subscribers living in the very remote places of the country, and who are sometimes said to be struggling to communicate.
Industry watchers in Gabon believe Azur, the last-born in Gabon mobile market, is still searching for a viable place in the Gabonese sun in the past six years (October 2009).
Akoury seems to have acknowledged this challenge. “In a highly competitive economic environment, we are aware of being the latest entrant in the market. The efforts required are substantial,” he said, adding that now the challenge is to adopt a different approach to mobile telephony through a targeted strategy adapted to each situation.
Azur Gabon is a subsidiary of Azur Telecom, which also has operations in Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville.
Azur Telecom, owned by Lebanon’s group BinTel, is said to be seeking international funding to enhance its operations in these three countries.
Negotiations, which are being overseen by France’s Monaco Telecom, may be in an advanced stage with a number of international organisations, including the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).