Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Home Energy Bboxx secures $4M to accelerate energy access in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Bboxx secures $4M to accelerate energy access in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by James Musoba
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Bboxx, a next-generation utility, has secured a $4 million loan to accelerate its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) across Kivu, Ituri and Tshopo provinces with ambitions to expand further in the country.

Bboxx secured the loan from the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI OGEF), a debt fund managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners (LHGP).

According to Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx: “We have substantial operations and a proven track record in the DRC, having signed an important MoU with the DRC government at the beginning of the year. As we embark on the next phase of our ambitious growth journey, we look forward to putting these funds to good use by helping to transform even more lives and unlock potential through access to clean energy.”

Currently, only around 19% of the DRC population have access to electricity, and for those that do have access, electricity can be unreliable1.

The DRC is already a core market for Bboxx, who manufacture, distribute and finance decentralised solar powered systems in developing countries. The company has positively impacted many lives through access to clean, reliable and affordable energy – and this new funding will provide the opportunity to further increase Bboxx’s impact in the DRC. Earlier this year, Bboxx announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the DRC Government, with the aim of bringing clean energy to 10 million citizens, equivalent to 10% of the population.

Bringing clean energy to 10 million citizens

This debt financing from FEI OGEF builds on the Fund’s $8 million loan made in May 2019 to turbocharge Bboxx’s energy access plans in Rwanda.

Harry Guinness, Managing Director at Lion’s Head and OGEF Fund Manager, said: “The OGEF team remains impressed with Bboxx’s mission, technology and scale – and we are excited to expand our role in their growth in challenging markets by boosting operations in the DRC. This transaction was a real team effort – owing thanks to partners at the World Bank and local funders – and the collaboration and effort underscores OGEF’s commitment to increase debt financing in Africa.

“We look forward to continuing to contribute to Bboxx’s substantial achievements in expanding access to clean energy through much-needed scalable capital. This transaction sets another standard and we’re driven to adapt, learn and replicate it with borrowers in the sector across Africa.”

Bboxx also today partnered with USAID to expand clean cooking access and reduce charcoal use in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bboxx Pulse, an IoT technology-enabled comprehensive management platform

The firm unveiled its LPG technology using PayGo Energy Cylinder Smart Meter, connected to Bboxx Pulse®, its IoT technology-enabled comprehensive management platform, which can remotely monitor, manage and deliver clean cooking solutions in a distributed and scalable model.

Connected to the gas canister, this smart meter remotely monitors gas flow, gas remaining in the canister, and cooking credit— in real time. The time-lapsed user data collected as customers cook helps Bboxx better understand customer needs and consumption patterns, and it allows USAID’s Gas is an Affordable Alternative to Charcoal Project team to effectively monitor emissions.

USAID’s Pay As You Go Liquid Petroleum Gas Program in February awarded Bboxx a grant to test and scale up this new technology. Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced three new grants totaling $550,000 to test and scale promising solutions for the coordinated delivery of solar home systems (SHS) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking solutions to off-grid households and businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from BBOXX other grantees were LivelyHoods, and Solkamtech.

Over the next three years, this funding—which is made possible due to the support of the American people—will enable Bboxx to provide 15,000 households and small businesses in Goma with clean and affordable cooking alternatives.

USAID and Bboxx Partnership

Today’s partnership, USAID and Bboxx ultimately aim to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the consumption of charcoal used for cooking. Displacing charcoal use will directly benefit the South Sector of Virunga National Park in the DRC, where charcoal production is currently responsible for around 91 percent of deforestation.

Earlier this month, Bboxx appointed former UK Minister and MP Nick Hurd as a Senior Adviser, as the company gears up towards the next phase of its growth journey.

He joined Bboxx at a time of significant expansion, as the business aims to scale further by working with partners – from governments to investors and major global corporations – to provide its products and services to many more people. This follows the company’s milestone of having positively impacted over one million lives through access to energy, as well as its successful $50 million Series D funding round led by Mitsubishi Corporation last year, and a joint venture with EDF in Togo, among other key deals.

The Right Hon Nick Hurd served as a Member of Parliament in the UK for fourteen years before standing down in December 2019. During that time he served three different Prime Ministers as a Government Minister over more than eight years. His experience includes service as UK International Development Minister at the Department for International Development (DFID), where he led the Energy Africa campaign to support the acceleration of the off-grid movement.

He also served in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, and in the Cabinet Office as Minister for Civil Society. Before politics, Nick spent eighteen years in the private sector, divided between investment banking and the development of young growth businesses.

Hon Nick Hurd, Member of Parliament in the UK Joins the Bboxx board

Nick Hurd joins the Bboxx board at a pivotal time as it celebrates its tenth year and enter the next phase of its ambitious growth trajectory. Nick’s deep political expertise in climate action would be so helpful to Boxx.

“It should be quite unacceptable that in 2020 500 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa still live without access to electricity and many more rely on polluting fuels to cook,” said Nick Hurd, Senior Adviser to Bboxx. “I am really delighted to join a great team at Bboxx that has a passion for changing that. Success requires more effective partnership between entrepreneurs, governments, and providers of funding: I look forward to working with others to help drive the change we need to see.”

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