After passing the symbolic €10 million sales mark and hiring its 100th employee, Famoco, France’s leading provider of secure professional devices, is positioned for growth and is opening its first office in Africa – in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. This fifth international opening marks the company’s plans for rapid expansion, particularly in Africa, to be closer to clients, including Orange, to provide them with the best possible service. The company also recently appointed a permanent representative in East Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya, and plans to attend the ID4Africa Annual Meeting in Nigeria from April 24th to 26th.
With the opening of an office in Ivory Coast to cover the African continent, Famoco is pursuing its international development strategy to increase client contact opportunities, monitor projects already in progress and launch new ones. The new office will be managed by Olivier Cechura, General Manager Africa. Former marketing director and African business ecosystem specialist, he was among the first to believe in Famoco’s vision and helped its founders set up the company. This appointment underlines the strategic importance of Africa for the start-up.
In addition, Famoco will be taking part in the ID4Africa Annual Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, from April 24th to 26th, 2018. IDF4Africa is a tripartite movement with representation from governments, development agencies and industry, focused on identity management matters relevant to Africa. Its annual meeting attended by the authorities, agencies, service providers and experts, is an opportunity for the movement to define the electronic identity development agenda to further the economic and social development in their countries.
A continent digitizing its services
Africa is the continent most affected by banking exclusion. According to World Bank data, in Africa, 66% of adults do not have a bank account. As a result, it is also the continent where digital financial services have grown at the fastest pace. In fact, given the spike in the number of mobile telephone and internet subscribers, entire swathes of the economy will also be affected by the digitization of services, fueling demand for digital security and ID solutions on the African continent.
Major digitization role in West Africa for Famoco
The French start-up’s solutions serve as dedicated professional devices for Orange’s solution, Orange Money, in some 10 African countries, including Ivory Coast, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia. This service allows 29 million Orange customers to open an account and send money to friends and relatives through tens of thousands of distributors.
The work with Orange in Africa includes equipping its network of agents, particularly in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with secure devices to sell Orange Services directly on the street. Indeed, in these parts of Africa, the majority of smartphone and SIM card sales are not made in physical shops, but on the street by small traders. To improve the effectiveness of Orange’s distribution network, reduce fraud, theft and data loss, Orange has chosen the Famoco solution to equip its teams in the field and use KYC (“Know Your Customer”) to better understand its customers.
Famoco: emerging player in East Africa
On the other side of Africa, Famoco’s representative in Kenya will develop projects in East Africa and oversee its work with the UN.
In fact, Famoco helps to improve the tracking of some 8 million food assistance beneficiaries. In practical terms, Famoco supplies vulnerable people with personalized and secure food assistance cards to redeem their allowances. The cards are accepted by merchants equipped with dedicated readers and can be used to buy essential items such as food and hygiene and first aid products. A fully secure system, the card prevents people from buying weapons, cigarettes and alcohol. Annual monitoring costs have been cut by 74%, crime reduced and the growth of the informal economy stopped. Furthermore, the savings made have allowed for a 17% rise in the number of people eligible for the program.
 According to the Global Findex, a World Bank Group database, in Africa, 66% adults do not have a bank account, compared with 86% in the Middle East, 54% in South Asia, 49% in Latin America, and 31% Southeast Asia (2014 data).