Senegal’s Sun Telecom seeks international success with fintech

20 July 2023
ITC News

Since 2013, Sun Telecom in Dakar has been digitalizing business processes and developing applications for banks, insurance companies and telecoms in Senegal. While the company already exports its Assurtech business to Côte d’Ivoire, it is now looking to provide its expertise to the Moroccan and French markets by offering IT outsourcing services.

To help structure its international strategy, Sun Telecom received coaching through the NTF V Senegal programme. In just one month, the company developed a solid export business plan and secured financing from the National Agency for the Development and Support of SMEs in Senegal (ADEPME).

‘You can choose to advance heads-down, with your eyes closed, waiting for opportunities. Or you can formalize a roadmap with realistic goals. To start exporting, you need a specific business plan, and that's what we did,’ said Abdoulaye Fall, Managing Director of Sun Telecom.

Senegalese businessman poses for portrait in office
Abdoulaye Fall, head of Sun Telecom
Photo by ITC

For him, the export business plan support was a key factor. ‘We're engineers with a passion for technology, living a bit in a world of our own. Our plan was to expand internationally, but we didn't know how to set it up. The NTF V Senegal programme trained us in export business planning and put us in touch with a consultant.’

In just a few weeks, Sun Telecom successfully structured its international strategy. All it took was a few meetings and discussions with the expert.

‘The consultant was very accessible and shared useful documents on which to draw, as well as advice and best practices. We were able to come up with a convincing proposal in record time, which was then approved by ADEPME,’ the entrepreneur added.

Sun Telecom sets course for Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire and France

Since 2001, ADEPME’s mission has been to strengthen the competitiveness of Senegalese companies of all sizes.

‘Companies benefiting from the NTF V programme have the advantage of being well prepared. Their needs are clearly identified, and they have an export business plan, which saves us time in assessing applications,’ said Mariane Ndiaye, Technical Assistance Manager at ADEPME.

Sun Telecom’s international development budget has been covered up to 75%.

‘We use this valuable support to finance our marketing and communication campaigns. It has also enabled us to take part in international trade shows such as VivaTech and SITIC Africa, and to hire a business developer as well as a legal, tax and HR expert,’ said Abdoulaye Fall.

To date, Sun Telecom has already opened a subsidiary in Casablanca and entered the Ivorian market. The Dakar-based company is now considering the best way to approach the French market – whether through a partnership or by opening a branch – in order to achieve its objective of increasing sales by 300 million CFA francs ($500,000) by the end of the year.

About the project

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) program (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Trade Centre. NTF V supports SMEs in the digital technology and agribusiness sectors in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Uganda. Its ambition is to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems partly through digital solutions, to improve the international competitiveness of local tech start-ups and to support the implementation of the export strategy of IT&BPO companies.