EN­ERGY & UTIL­I­TIES

Togo’s En­ergy Ac­cess Ini­tia­tive

Africa Outlook - - Contents -

A first of its kind

Fol­low­ing a ten­der process, BBOXX - a ven­ture-backed next gen­er­a­tion util­ity, de­vel­op­ing so­lu­tions to pro­vide af­ford­able, clean en­ergy to off-grid com­mu­ni­ties in the de­vel­op­ing world - was awarded a con­tract to work with the Gov­ern­ment of Togo to roll out 300,000 of its so­lar home sys­tems in the coun­try by 2022. BBOXX aims to cre­ate more than 1,000 di­rect jobs in Togo in the next five years from its ac­tiv­i­ties.

BBOXX is fully ver­ti­cally in­te­grated, con­trol­ling ev­ery part of its cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Its mar­ket-lead­ing prod­ucts and ap­pli­ances cou­pled with its SMART So­lar plat­form brings ma­chine-learn­ing and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence op­ti­mi­sa­tion to ru­ral Africa. It’s ground­break­ing fi­nanc­ing struc­ture has brought off-grid so­lar into the world’s fi­nan­cial mar­kets and the new in­no­va­tive partnership is part of the Gov­ern­ment’s aim to dra­mat­i­cally im­prove ac­cess to elec­tric­ity for peo­ple in Togo, par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas.

The mis­sion of “CIZO” (which means light­ing up in “Guin” lan­guage) is to bring elec­tric­ity to more than two mil­lion cit­i­zens by 2022. It will also pro­vide the adop­tion of mo­bile pay­ment so­lu­tions across ru­ral ar­eas, help­ing to im­prove the fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Man­soor Ha­mayun, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of BBOXX talks through the ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments that are cur­rently oc­cur­ring within the project.

Africa Out­look (AfO): What were the main chal­lenges that you iden­ti­fied at dif­fer­ent stages of the Togo En­ergy Ac­cess Ini­tia­tive and how did you over­come them?

Man­soor Ha­mayun (MH): In 2016, the Gov­ern­ment of Togo launched a ten­der process to en­able pri­vate busi­nesses to en­ter Togo’s en­ergy mar­ket af­ter recog­nis­ing how off-grid en­ergy was start­ing to take off in East Africa. BBOXX – a next gen­er­a­tion util­ity – en­gaged with the Gov­ern­ment and state or­gan­i­sa­tions to lay out the con­di­tions nec­es­sary to op­er­ate suc­cess­fully in the lo­cal mar­ket.

While there were un­cer­tain­ties around open­ing up in a new mar­ket, we proved through our ex­pe­ri­ence in other countries such as Rwanda that we can over­come the same en­ergy ac­cess chal­lenge and that our con­cept and sys­tem works. We showed that we can ap­ply our model across dif­fer­ent ge­ogra­phies, and we have the data to back that up and prove it.

Ac­cess to fi­nance is another com­mon stum­bling block to set­ting up op­er­a­tions in a new coun­try. While each coun­try’s fi­nan­cial en­vi­ron­ment is very dif­fer­ent, we drew on deep ex­per­tise with our work in Rwanda in in­volv­ing lo­cal banks in the fi­nanc­ing process, and had built up a prior re­la­tion­ship with Africa Guar­an­tee Fund.

In ad­di­tion, pri­vate com­pa­nies like BBOXX need the right reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively and scale up. In Togo, it was ex­cit­ing to see that the Gov­ern­ment had cre­ated a frame­work for com­pa­nies like BBOXX to get in­volved in plug­ging the en­ergy ac­cess gap.

AfO: Could you tell me a lit­tle more about the suc­cesses you have achieved within the project so far and how they have im­pacted the pro­jected growth within Togo?

MH: BBOXX launched its op­er­a­tions in Togo in De­cem­ber, 2017. This came

The Gov­ern­ment of Togo’s en­ergy ac­cess ini­tia­tive has re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant boost fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of a pi­o­neer­ing debt fi­nance deal worth US$4 mil­lion. As the first of its kind in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa it will un­lock lo­cally raised cap­i­tal to de­liver a Gov­ern­ment project aimed at im­prov­ing lo­cal peo­ple’s qual­ity of life Writ­ten by: Phoebe Calver

BBOXX

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