BBOXX’s fast-paced solar activities in Africa

bboxx 5mBBOXX customers in Togo will receive a subsidy to spend on solar energy – in what is the first government subsidy for the purpose of solar energy payments in Africa

Dubbed the ‘CIZO Cheque,’ households with BBOXX solar home systems will be granted a monthly subsidy of US$4 over a three-year period.

BBOXX has been operating in Togo since December 2017, after being awarded a tender to install 300,000 solar home systems by 2022 across the country, largely in rural areas. In 2018, BBOXX and EDF entered a partnership with EDF holding a 50per cent stake in BBOXX’s Togo operations, operating as the brand ‘BBOXX avec EDF’ in Togo – accelerating investment and deployment of off-grid electricity.

The ‘CIZO Cheque’ will initially focus on 11 regions in Togo with the lowest electrification rates, and this forms part of the Togo Government’s national electrification strategy, the ‘CIZO’ initiative – which means lighting up in the local ‘Guin’ language.

Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of BBOXX, commented, “This pioneering initiative is a major stride forward in tackling a key obstacle to achieving universal electrification in Africa – this being that many customers are still living in poverty. Overcoming energy poverty is the first step in overcoming poverty as a whole – as access to electricity brings people into the digital economy and fosters financial inclusion. “

“This innovative solar subsidy is a major component along the path to achieving 100 per cent electrification at scale and will have a positive knock-on effect to the wider Togolese economy. Access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity has transformational benefits for individuals, communities and SMEs as electricity provides the basic pre-requisite for access to all other modern amenities.”

Marc Ably-Bidamon, minister of energy in Togo, said, “Access to electricity is a basic need and the Government of Togo is committed to achieving 100 per cent access for all by 2030, by ensuring that no one is left behind. The CIZO Cheque will provide Togolese rural households with access to high-quality solar home systems at an affordable price.”

Solar across Africa: BBOXX and Trine

BBOXX has received the largest crowd-funded debt raise of US$6.80mn in Africa, in collaboration with Trine, a service for sustainable investments in solar energy.

The collaboration is set to accelerate BBOXX’s installation of pay-as-you-go solar home systems in Kenya, Rwanda, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal and Guinea. This will positively impact the lives of over 200,000 underserved people in these countries.

The investment will apply to customers across BBOXX’s distribution mix, unlocking potential in households, communities and SMEs across both rural and urban regions. BBOXX is transforming people’s lives through the provision of affordable, reliable and clean energy, as well as other modern utilities and value-added services that these people demand but have never had available.

Trine and BBOXX launched the first of these six funding rounds in February 2018 and reached their first US$1.13mn target one month later in record time. Repayments from the loans have also started to go out to investors in the first rounds of these loans to BBOXX – with expected nominal interest rates of 6.75 per cent on investments up to US$1132.88, a bonus rate of 8.75 per cent on investments of US$1132.88 or more, and a bonus rate of 11 per cent on investments of US$56644.25 or more.

Hamayun noted, “Access to energy brings people into the digital economy, creates new markets and generates demands in other areas, such as water, internet and finance. These are demands which BBOXX also seeks to meet. This is the crucial to unlocking Africa’s full economic potential.”

Sam Manaberi, CEO and co-founder of Trine, said, “We’ve witnessed unprecedented demand from retail investors who want to invest sustainably in solar energy in growing markets, for example, Africa. Trine has also shown that having a positive impact on climate change can be met with competitive returns on investment. Crowdfunding is a useful low-cost flexible type of finance that allows high-growth businesses like BBOXX to scale.”

The US$6.80mn has been raised in Sweden and across Europe by over 4,400 unique investors.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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