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M-KOPA: the affordable kit bringing (clean) energy to Africa’s poorest areas
Since 2012, M-KOPA provides a kit made of a solar panel, LED lights, and charging USB. Everything at the cost of a telephone subscription.
Bringing electricity and grids to Western Africa’s poorest and most rural areas, at the cost of a telephone subscription. This is what M-KOPA – M stands for “mobile”, KOPA for “to borrow” – is doing. It is a Nairobi-based company that since 2012 brought energy to 200,000 families in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
M-KOPA provides a kit made of 1 8W solar panel, 2 LED lights with switches and multiple brightness settings, 1 LED portable solar torch light, 1 phone charging USB with 5 standard connections, 1 portable solar radio. Everything with an initial deposit of about 20 euros, followed by a daily payment of 30 cents per day for up to one year. It is could be compared to our “all inclusive” promotions.
The system, thanks to a GSM network, gathers all the data outright, thus monitoring real-time performance and consumptions. Technology, big data, and the grid provide electricity to the poorest populations, at affordable costs.
Considering that 1.3 billion people do not have direct access to electricity (source: Iea), it is evident how systems like M-KOPA are essential. In fact, from their official website emerges that they provide 500 new kits every day.
The system had a worldwide success, so that M-KOPA has been awarded several prices dedicated to sustainable finance and sustainable energy. There’s more. During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi last July, US President Barack Obama was really impressed by the system, and told June Muli Head of the Costumer Care that “after a year of payments, for the next seven years you now have power and light in your house, you can charge your phones and that 40 cents a day is the same amount you’d be paying for kerosene.”
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