Business

d.light takes on former client M-Kopa solar with a robust home solar system with a 19” digitial TV

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d.light, a global solar kit maker and a former M-Kopa Solar supplier has launched a robust home solar system with a capacity to light their homes and charge their phones and watch digital TV and power some basic home appliances.

The solar X850, is a platform-based solar home system with a d.light 19” LED High Definition digital TV. A standard X850 bundle comes with 5 lights, radio, torch, battery and a panel. It is upgradable to 8 lights and TV, and in the future other 12V appliances that can be powered by its three 12V ports.

The d.light X-series is bundled with patented bulbs and the firm says is easy on the pocket (we don’t know how much is that) and cheaper than paying for kerosene daily. Customers can buy the basic home solar kit and then upgrade it without needing to buy an entirely new system.

Sam Goldman, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of d.light said d.light is also planning a major upgrade across its entire solar lantern products in the next few weeks, in line with its mission of moving its customers up the energy access ladder. We don’t know why d.light would be skeptical about solar home systems in the local market when it was the firm behind those gift pack solar systems M-Kopa Solar used to sell.

In future, pay-as-you-go home solar systems sold should be able to power more things than lighting just like their counterparts served by the grid.

d.light says it has impacted 75 million lives already and is well on track to surpassing its goal of empowering 100 million people by 2020. In Kenya, one out of three off-grid households owns a d.light solar product and the firm is perfecting the PayGo model to take on firms such as M-Kopa Solar among others.

“There are currently 2.3 billion people in the developing world living without reliable electricity and no one company can address the challenge alone. Thanks to our incredible business partners, investors and other key industry stakeholders such as the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and the World Bank-IFC Lighting Global initiative, we are poised to bring millions of existing and new customers up the energy access ladder through our new products and solutions,” said d.light CEO and co-founder Ned Tozun.

Safaricom ditches its mobile telco look as it starts journey as an enabler platform for all things digital

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Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom

On the surface, there might be nothing much from the new Safaricom logo but deep in its realms the telco is inching closer to its dream of becoming a raft or an enabling platform for just about everything away from its old mobile telecommunication roots.

As we all know, a raft or an axle is a central shaft for a wheel or gear either fixed or rotating. Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore speaking in an earlier interview said the firm was moving to becoming a raft.

“We don’t want to become a company for everything, we want to become a platform for everything. And in fact we’ve even moved on from using the word platform. We now use the word raft because platform is something which sits still. A raft is something which moves. And the world that we’re in today is moving at a particularly rapid pace,” Collymore told Business Daily. “So we want to be the raft that people can climb onto to get them where they want to go. We have stopped thinking about mobile phone companies being our competitors.We don’t want to think of ourselves as a telecommunications company. In fact pretty much every Friday afternoon I interview incomers to the company and we hardly get any with telecommunications background now. They’re coming from all sorts of other backgrounds.”

The first thing Safaricom did was act as a platform for mobile financial services M-Pesa then it went to power Little, an Uber competitor and Sendy, a courier firm which has since pivoted from peer-to-peer services to B2B. As a platform, Safaricom also powers Eneza Education and M-Survey and M-Tiba, a mobile health wallet and M-Kopa, a fintech firm lending solar systems to off-grid communities in Kenya.

As a pipeline model, Safaricom was acting as an airtime vendor investing in hardware and software infrastructure to make sure people could easily and conveniently make calls so it can sell more airtime. It needed a robust network capable of serving millions of customers. It did. However, with the advent of OTT platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber, Safaricom realized selling airtime won’t be dope in the next decade as voice which still its biggest revenue earner-close to 75 percent of its total revenues was headed to this VoIP applications.

As a platform, Safaricom provides Internet for these apps but sees its future beyond being just a platform as anyone can provide Internet for these apps. Therefore Safaricom is moving into M2M communications where it can power heavy automated industries which earlier wouldn’t need telecommunication services such as robust irrigation systems, video-on-demand school system, energy and water sensors, transport communication systems among others.

Safaricom’s Old Logo

With partners such as Huawei, Safaricom aims to power smart cities, the government of the future, starting with the government data center and the national police control center among others. Safaricom is repositioning itself for all these with its new brand from a telecommunications brand to a digital lifestyle enabler through a new brand campaign titled Twaweza: when we come together, great things happen.

The firm says its new brand position seeks to connect Kenyans to each other and also connect them to knowledge and information in a bid to democratize technology to bring out the best of their trademark resourcefulness, creativity and enterprising spirit.

With an over 70 percent network coverage across the country and over 28 million subscribers providing over 200,000 touch points for its customers and offering over 100 different products under its portfolio, Safaricom is so close to its dream of becoming part and parcel of Kenya’s every individual and sector and government or private agency. It was time for the mobile communications better option brand, which was launched to beat competitor Kencell, to be dropped and forgotten.

Time to cash out as Safaricom mulls launch of M-Pesa in Nigeria, Angola

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Safaricom is set to expand M-Pesa, its 1o year-old mobile money service to new markets after its parent firm Vodafone PLC sold a 35 percent stake to its South African subsidiary for $2.6 billion in what will turn out to be a new test of loyalty to the firm’s retail investors but a welcome move to long-term institutional and international investors.

Spreading itself so thin

Just like Rocket Internet, a Berlin-based startup builder which has spread itself so thin across the world, the launch of M-Pesa into new markets would mean new partnerships and capital investments which will sent Safaricom’s revenues and share price tumbling down as the telco adapts to these new markets. For short-term retail IPO investors, this is likely the best time to cash out.

South Africa’s Vodacom Group which is set to acquire a 34.94% stake in Safaricom is itself a failure at operating mobile money in its own market even though it had at money, the M-Pesa platform and personnel it needed. Just buying into Safaricom and replicating its success across sub-Saharan Africa M-Pesa won’t miraculously save its soul. Vodacom said following a thorough review, it discontinued its M-Pesa product after showing a little prospect of growth in the country.

Speaking about the decision, Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Chief Executive Officer, said: “Vodacom’s decision is based on the fact that the business sustainability of M-Pesa is predicated on achieving a critical mass of users. Based on our revised projections and high levels of financial inclusion in South Africa there is little prospect of the M-Pesa product achieving this in its current format in the mid-term.”

Same Vodacom

Though M-Pesa continued to gain solid traction in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and the DRC, Vodacom failed to save it South Africa arguing high levels of financial inclusion in South Africa and a less supportive macro environment unlike in Kenya and other growing markets.

Vodacom said it didn’t give up totally saying opportunities exist in the Financial Services environment and it promised to continue to explore them. With the failure of M-PESA in South Africa as a USSD platform. Vodacom sees the new Safaricom app as a saviour brewing fresh interest in trying mobile money services again. However, the markets are totally different and M-Pesa’s success, heavily pegged on peer-to-peer transfers in Kenya and poverty levels in rural areas might not be easily replicated in other markets.

According to Shameel Joosub, Chief Executive Officer of Vodacom Group, “Acquiring a strategic stake in Safaricom will provide our shareholders with access to a high growth, high margin, high cash generation business operating in a high growth market. In addition to producing mutually beneficial opportunities for growth, it will create further incremental value through the close cooperation between the two businesses, particularly in driving M-Pesa adoption across our operations.”

Safaricom M-Pesa Brand

Though the firm’s announcement that it may expand M-Pesa into countries such as Nigeria and Angola before the end of the year as well as sign platform-sharing deals with firms such as MTN in these markets may be a welcome move to long-tern international investors, the choice is the markets especially Nigeria maybe be wrong and could cost the firm and its investors a fortune.

Safaricom has invested billions to build its M-Pesa brand in Kenya and across the borders. Launching the same platform in other markets without the Safaricom M-Pesa brand won’t bare much fruit or user excitement.

According to the GSMA, Bureaucracy and regulatory complexity throughout Nigeria continue to act as barriers to realising the socio-economic opportunities that mobile services enable, underpinning the need for a transparent, consultative and pro-investment regulatory environment.Affordability and coverage are key barriers in driving increased mobile penetration and the socio-economic benefits that follow from improved access to mobile services. The cost of running a mobile is around 5% of personal income in Nigeria, well above the threshold of 2-3% below which penetration starts to rise steeply. On coverage, the country is well provisioned in urban areas but there remains a lack of infrastructure in many rural regions. This is understandable given the combination of challenging terrain and vast distances, a lack of electricity and road access, and persistent security threats.

The GSMA adds that coverage is largely a product of investment, which can only occur in a clear, constructive and proactive regulatory environment favouring innovative roll-out models (such as network sharing). Affordability requires this environment as well, but also has the strength of market forces to help.

While regulations on coverage expansion (as a condition for spectrum ownership) and expectations for Quality of Service (QoS) are important in ensuring high quality services for consumers, a balance is important to avoid delays in the implementation of an operator’s expansion and upgrade plans. This is also important for Mobile for Development (M4D) services, where the regulatory environment can play a role in an operator’s decision to roll out such value-added services. Major growth of mobile money services has thus far been largely outside West Africa in general, although there are many positive success stories to draw on from other countries in this sector (e.g. Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo) where operators have used extensive distribution networks and brand to grow scale and catalyse development of other M4D sectors through payments, transfers and insurance. From this, we think there is a strong case for permitting operators to operate mobile money services in Nigeria. More widely, a facilitating regulatory environment can help unlock successful services in other M4D sectors closely aligned with economic growth and social improvement (Sri Lanka is a good example), for which Nigeria is a prime candidate.

Another factor could be the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act which was passed ten years go to give CBN power to promote the implementation of best practices including the use of electronic payment systems in all banks across Nigeria. CBN governs use of mobile money and agent banking in Nigeria and released a licensing framework argued to have stifled mobile money services instead of nurturing them.

Though they have been revised to allow telcos run agency networks, there is still huge distrust between banks and telcos which are supposed towork together to make mobile money a success. The regulatory environment did not encourage masses to utilize the services and Vodacom will be required to use billions of shillings to encourage M-Pesa uptake in Nigeria.

Spending in Nigeria without earning will affect Safaricom’s share price back home.

Market dominance

M-Pesa is successful in Kenya because of its dominance. With over 30m customers of Kenya’s 45 million population, Safaricom owns serves over 70 percent of the adult population and is a dominant player and politics has helped it define dominance in abstract terms. These makes P2P mobile money transfers an easy success. In Nigeria, MTN which is the biggest telco has less than 30 percent market share and it won’t have the network effect Safaricom’s M-Pesa has in Kenya. To lure investors not to cash out, Vodacom could have rolled-out M-Pesa in Uganda, Rwanda and steadily across Eastern Africa where the majority of Kenyans are spread and the region also shares a common culture of sending money back home or to their peers. Remember, M-Pesa grew out of inbound transfers from the working class to their parents in rural areas with no state welfare or investments in old age. P2P payments won’t be definitely huge for M-Pesa in Nigeria and Angola, an oil-rich and mining community.

Culture & P2P transfers

Another report by the Institute of Economic Affairs argues that mobile money has been successful in Kenya because it ‘telecom-led’. The report argues that Safaricom invested in the infrastructure and launched a countrywide agent network while mobile money in Nigeria is a ‘bank-led’ model where banks are licenced to operate mobile money rather than telcos. IEA argues that Nigeria has a bank-led model due to protectionism, fraud and loss of control.

However, this might not be entirely true as Safaricom is also partly owned by the Kenyan government. An agent network without customers does not make any mobile money operation successful. The agent networks were set up by Safaricom because of customer demand. The major advantages Safaricom might have had was the loose legislation M-Pesa got at the time but demand was high.

Banks Vs Telcos

Looking at Nigeria, Vodcaom sees a huge market of over 180m people, a huge unbanked population and a dozen telecommunications firms reaching the country’s urban and rural folks who might find mobile money simpler to use, opening access to financial services such as savings,  loans and insurance. However, banks market their accounts rather than mobile money services. CBN has to open up regulation to allow Vodacom’s M-Pesa in Nigeria to more than providing infrastructure for Mobile Money but to be allowed to offer mobile financial services such as savings, insurance among others.

With the coming interoperability and infrastructure sharing, Safaricom will open up M-Pesa to more players. Though Safaricom sees this as additional revenue, a set price will make the service either too expensive to use or bring little revenue to its coffers leading to losses to its retail investors who wouldn’t see the bigger picture. Thereby making M-Pesa a loss making liability to the firm than an asset. The reduced margins will greatly affect the telco’s worth back home and abroad and unattractive to investors.

Orange Digital Ventures launches € 50 million war chest to pump into early-stage Africa-focused startups

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Orange’s flagship programme for investment in start-ups, Orange Digital Ventures and is committing 50 million euros corresponding to half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa programme; the other half is devoted to indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa is the Group’s investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivities, FinTech, the Internet of Things, energy and e-health to all innovative start-ups, whether they are based geographically in Africa or they address African issues from another continent.

A dedicated team based in Dakar will be set up next September for the programme in order to respond to the start-ups’ need for responsiveness and simplicity. This new initiative underlines Orange’s commitment in Africa, a growth territory where currently nearly one of every ten inhabitants is an Orange customer, and its determination to always be a cutting-edge player in digital ecosystems.

It supports Orange’s existing open innovation initiatives in Africa, such as the Orange Fabs in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal and BIG in Jordan to facilitate partnerships with the start-ups; the network of partner incubators such as CTIC in Dakar; the availability of Orange APIs on the continent; and the Orange Social Venture Prize recognising social entrepreneurs in Africa.

Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Ventures, commented: “Since the beginning of Orange Digital Ventures, the new services and business models in Africa have been one of the priority investment themes of our corporate venture business. With this announcement, we are engaging a bit further alongside the African digital ecosystem, which like everywhere else and maybe even more than elsewhere carries with it a development challenge.”

The start-ups may contact the Orange Digital Ventures Africa team via the website http://DigitalVentures.orange.com.

PesaLink hits a massive Kshs 2.5B transfer milestone, launches to the public

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PesaLink, a bank-to-bank money transfer platform run by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) through its fully owned financial technologies firm -Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL)-has today officially launched after a four-month pilot phase citing over Ksh 2.5 billion transferred over its platform.

To celebrate the launch, IPSL service subscribers’ will enjoy free access and tariff free services on the platform for the next two months to further encourage the product uptake. The platform aims to speed up bank-to-bank money transfer transactions of between Kshs10 and Kshs999,999 across five platforms – mobile (USSD & Apps), internet banking, ATM, branch front office, agency banking and POS branches.

Speaking at the launch event, KBA Chief Executive officer Mr. Habil Olaka, said, in the short period PesaLink has been in operation, the service has enjoyed a steady growth in customer deposits, signed 26 banks onto the platform and has processed more than Kshs2.5 billion worth of transactions.

“Since we set up, IPSL, to address the challenge of integrating retail payments in the country, we have witnessed the need to offer solution-based products to the market,” said Habil Olaka, KBA CEO

“PesaLink, which offers affordable money transfer rates and allows for instant inter-bank transactions, is one of the many breakthroughs the financial sector has offered to the market. We have more to offer as we continue innovating for the future,” he added.

According to KBA and its members, PesaLink was borne out of the need to provide a secure, fast and efficient money transfer system by tapping into the latest technological advances.

“With mobile penetration in Kenya standing at 90% as at December 2016, the prospects of financial penetration are on the rise. Opportunities abound. PesaLink is a step towards the country’s ambition to be a cash lite economy especially with our offering of a real-time interbank transaction framework,” said Jenifer Theuri, IPSL CEO.

The platform has been developed to provide interoperability and related technology solutions for local commercial banks. IPSL will also inform policy direction and manage the risks associated with payment systems in the market, while providing technical and related guidance to KBA member banks. The platform aims to enable money transfers of multiple currencies. It also aims to venture into online services, offline service through cash to code, and B2P transactions and person to govt agencies payments.

PesaLink has registered 26 banks which include; ABC Bank, Bank of Africa, Barclays Bank, CBA, Consolidated Bank, Cooperative Bank, Credit Bank Ltd, DTB, Equity Bank, Family Bank, First Community Bank, Guardian Bank, Gulf African Bank, I&M, Jamii Bora Bank, KCB Bank, KWFT Bank, Middle East Bank, NIC Bank, Paramount Bank, Prime Bank, SCB KE, Sidian Bank, Spire Bank, Stanbic Bank and Victoria Bank.

Google, check Wikipedia on your analogue phone without internet, only with ONEm services

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ONEm Chief Executive Officer Christopher Richardson. Photo-ONEm

Ponder this- chatting with people across the world using your analogue phone, let’s say Nokia 7020 or 1100 without internet.

You can still create chat groups just like on Whatsapp where when a member sends a voice or text message, everyone in the group gets it regardless of time zones, phone types and even networks.

This is not a script for a fictional movie. In fact, 5.8 billion people across the globe can now use these services provided by OneM , an emerging world giant in mobile telecommunication, which has designed simple, cheap and effective technology that allows people to chat online for free without internet or smart phones

The unique innovation that marries traditional and modern day technology is fast growing in the world, with countries like Uganda and Tanzania already it in the region.

Speaking exclusively to TechMoran from the United Kingdom, ONEm Chief Executive Officer Christopher Richardson said that this innovation is specifically designed to help people in the developing world to exploit available resources for positive social economic transformation

‘’ONEm is working with  existing mobile phone operators to reach and help  billions of people in the worlds who have no access to internet to create and share information at much affordable fee,’ said Christopher.

He explained that ONEm in Africa will give face to an old adage-Information is power, as it is designed to fuel people to people communication.

If a service provider like Safaricom partners with ONEm, subscribers can easily form chat groups where they can share information i.e security alerts and sale merchandises.

In this case, Safaricom gets a chance increase its functionality hence tapping in more subscribers. Subscribers on the other hand benefit from multiple information channels

How it works

ONEm partners with the existing mobile operators to enable users connect with each other with their membership ID for unlimited conversations either person to person or as a group.

In Tanzania for instance, ONEm is partnering with Smart Tanzania, a regional mobile phone provider in Uganda and Burundi to give its customers a chance to access group chat service and internet content such as Wikipedia and Reuter’s news without the use of data.

In Uganda, the firm is partnering with Independent, where the publisher is offering its news on the ONEm platform for readers in Uganda and the rest of the World.

Postboard and xGroups

One of these products is Post board, a community driven bulletin board where any user can post anything they like whether its business or social

This tool works like classified ads where people can buy and sell things

Its functionality mirrors that of WhatsApp where group members can share information. It however goes beyond individuals and a single group as it allows users to share information in different groups

The Ministry Internal Security for instance can buy a Post board code from ONEm which it can use to share and exchange security information with chiefs, village leaders or general public across the country via Safaricom, Airtel or Orange telephony

In this case, the ministry caters for the code’s post, allowing members of the public to receive information for free and engage with each other at normal fee charged by Safaricom, Airtel or Orange

This means that the mobile phone operator who partners with ONEm increases both revenue and customer subscription

When the users send voice/MMS or SMS via this platform, it is only their names that are displayed and not their phone numbers. Only the operator and ONEm are able to access mobile phone numbers

This means that users are secured from stokers and cyber criminals who can use their phone details for criminal activities.

Work with existing mobile operators-Through the Operator model (TTO)

Christopher explained that ONEm’s Through the Operator Model (TTO) give partner operator free access to the data centre to enable its customers to send voice and text messages to many receivers, and access other Internet-based data such as Wikipedia at a small fee.

‘’This is opposed to OTT (Over the top) system which works over the user’s data networks to access services where operators do not charge anything,’’ he added.

The ONEm ecosystem allows operators to innovate quickly without any investment in additional infrastructure.

Why Energy Resources Are So Important

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The modern world runs on energy. This might seem obvious, but in terms of history, it is rather a dramatic development. Prior to the industrial revolution, human society used very little energy beyond what human labor, animal power, and what basic natural resources like wind, water and fire could provide. A windmill, a water-mill, or a fire to cook on or light the house with were about the extent of the use energy resources. But once the industrial revolution hit, suddenly it became necessary to find new sources of energy to power a world increasingly run by machine.

Over the course of the last two centuries, we have gone from a world powered by wood, whale blubber, wind, and river water to one in which fossil fuels, solar panels, and even nuclear fission help to feed humanity’s ever-growing need for more and more energy. As the rate of energy consumption continues to grow, competition for dwindling energy resources only makes it more difficult and expensive to keep up the same levels of consumption.

One of the reasons that energy resources are so important is that they make it possible for a country to maintain its lifestyle. When China became a world power and announced its plan to develop its standard of living through industrialization, securing energy resources became a matter of extreme concern. It was on the back of vast strip mining of fossil fuels that China developed its industrial base. A lack of natural resources can make it harder for a country to reach the highest levels of industrial development because it is usually more expensive to important fuel than it is to produce it at home. That’s one reason, for example, that North American countries have turned toward refining oil sands into petroleum. Formerly, this process was too expensive and cost more than importing oil from the Middle East, but thanks to changes in both prices and technology, it is now a cost efficient way to restore some energy independence, dealing a major blow to OPEC nations’ revenue.

On the other extreme, when Iran wanted to create a nuclear weapon, obtaining nuclear fuel was of paramount importance, and this entailed seeking out uranium and plutonium, two highly fissionable nuclear fuels. Similarly, terrorist groups around the world are looking for those same nuclear fuels to produce their own dirty bombs.

But the importance of energy resources isn’t just found at the international level. Right in your own home, you have to make decisions about which energy resources to use to heat, cool, and power your home. Most homes are heated either through oil, natural gas, or electricity. Some even use wood-burning stoves. Each of these has pluses and minuses, and each utilizes a different energy resource system in order to create heat. Similarly, your house can now take advantage of different ways of powering it with electricity. You can buy electricity off the grid, and this power is generated from a range of options, including coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear. Or you can power your house with solar panels to use the energy of the sun. Finally, you might even (in exceptional circumstances) use a generator that runs on propane or oil.

Fortunately, we live in an age when it is possible to make use of a wider variety of energy resources. The choice of which resource to use impacts not just individuals but also the environment. Some resources are renewable, some are not, and some, such as nuclear, run the risk of damaging the environment for generations to come. Whatever energy choice you make, there are consequences to consider. The good news is that in today’s world there have never been so many options for making responsible choices that will benefit the environment, or at least reduce the risks so that the future will have plenty of energy resources for everyone.

Prepared by one of freelance academic writers who is hired by SmartWritingService.com online custom writing company considered a reliable essay helper on the market.

 

How Cambridge Analytica deployed its toughest data machinery in the 2013 Kenyan presidential election

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Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data-driven political consultancy firm which helped Trump ascend to power and most recently in the BREXIT referendum vote is boasting of the work it did in the 2013 Kenyan presidential election.

Using data to find, understand, and engage with and persuade voters, CA has boasted how it offered a fully end-to-end campaign package for a presidential candidate (Uhuru Kenyatta in cap on the case study) in the 2013 General Elections even as sources close to the presidential campaign team deny arrogantly.

“Ahead of the 2013 Kenyan presidential election, CA designed and implemented the largest political research project ever conducted in East Africa. Sampling and interviewing 47,000 respondents, CA was able to draft an effective campaign strategy based on the electorate’s real needs (jobs) and fears (tribal violence),” the firm posted in a case study on its website.

According to the firm, the the challenge was that the 2013 general election was the first after the infamous 2008 post-election violence and the country had just had a new constitution among other fears.

The firm said it was contracted by a leading Kenyan political party to help shift things around.

“The aim was to provide the party with a comprehensive plan to shape its election strategy,” the firm announced. “We worked with a local research partner to train a diverse team of enumerators to ensure regional variations in language and social customs were respected during data collection.”

Cambridge Analytica then embarked on a nationwide data collection spree over the space of three months and an overall sample of 47,000 was achieved.

The result, CA profiled the Kenyan electorate, including: key national and local political issues, levels of trust in key politicians, voting behaviours/intentions, and preferred information channels. To connect with this audience, CA’s communications and strategy team devised an online social media campaign to generate a hugely active online following.

Though it’s fine for a firm to engage consultants for their political campaigns, CA is infamous across the world for its unorthodox methods on voters, opposition, and trends and use of voter behavior for finding, understanding, and persuading them to vote a certain way.

The firm uses the data from both public and private sources to segment voters into distinct audiences to deliver highly targeted experiences to prospects and sway regions to convince and influence their voting behavior. The firm even uses  psychographic analysis to engage audiences, profile lookalike prospects among others for targeted advertising across desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TV devices through display, video, Facebook, Twitter, native, audio, interactive and search.

“We use full cross device placement to reach your customers wherever they are. We also match our target audiences to TV set-top box data to optimize linear broadcast media buys.
We ably place digital and TV ads to bring your candidates closer to their electorate. The visuals and language in each piece are crafted to engage voters emotionally and impactfully,” says the in-depth audience targeting firm.

Naspers-backed Delivery Hero acquires Carriage, a Middle Eastern food delivery service ahead of its IPO

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Naspers-backed online food ordering and delivery marketplace Delivery Hero has acquired Carriage, a Kuwait-based hybrid business model offering both, delivery marketplaces and own delivery services in the Middle East for an undisclosed amount as it nears its IPO journey.

It’s interesting to note that Naspers just invested $80m in Swiggy, an India-based food ordering. Earlier this month Naspers invested EUR 387m into Delivery Hero. This means Naspers is head to head to run the global food ordering and delivery services when it helps take Delivery Hero public. Today’s acquisition of Carriage puts Delivery Hero at the forefront of a wider shift in the food business allowing restaurants that don’t have delivery services or want to discontinue them to cut costs and focus on their core productivity.

In a statement, Niklas Östberg, CEO of Delivery Hero, said: “Carriage is an innovative player in the Middle Eastern food delivery market with an excellent management team. It will be a perfect addition to our current offering under the Talabat brand and strengthen our foothold in this region, where we see significant growth potential.”

Carriage was founded and is managed by CEO Abdullah Jihad Almutawa, CFO Musab Jihad Almutawa, COO Khaled Youssef Alqabandi, and CTO Jonathan Lau. The strong team of founders was key to the acquisition and will remain on board going forward. The company was founded in Kuwait and has extended into several other markets in the region.

Abdullah Jihad Almutawa, CEO of Carriage: “We are delighted to join forces with the leading global player in our space and are excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead of us. Becoming part of Delivery Hero will strengthen our business and extend our reach considerably.”

Based in Berlin, Delivery Hero is active across 40+ countries in Europe, the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region and operates its own delivery service primarily in 50+ high-density urban areas around the world.

Farm Fresh is Providing More Exposure to Farmers’ Local Products

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Across West Africa, WAAPP has developed and delivered around 160 climate-smart crop varieties, technologies and techniques to millions of farmers.

In Gambia, IT entrepreneur Modou Njie saw an opportunity to buy food directly from local food producers and cut out the middleman, launching Farm Fresh.

The idea sprung from his frustration at buying imported fruits and vegetables at premium prices and its unsustainability. He also read a lot about the health implications of consuming canned and processed food. He became motivated by the fact that he found so many women engaging in horticultural activities who lacked the market to sell their products, and felt that he could act as a gateway.

The agricultural production is the main economy activity in Gambia but has declined as a result of several factors including poor rainfall distribution, weak marketing infrastructure, lack of access to credit with limited resources base. The access to healthy and affordable food for the public is not easy, as well as the marketing of farmers’ products which is not developed and leads to the food waste and losses.

Farm Fresh is a Gambian social enterprise that is trying to solve the marketing of smallholder farmers’ local products through an e-commerce platform. They specialize in the marketing and selling online (e-commerce) of fresh and locally grown vegetables, fruits and processed food items in partnership with farmers and food processors across the country.

By partnering with farmers, Farm Fresh ensures a regular source of income generation for farmers thereby contributing towards poverty alleviation. Farm Fresh thus intervenes in the value chain by bridging the existing gap between production and delivery; and therefore being a crucial player in the marketing unit of the value chain. Its website offers more than 100 products, while farmers receive specific orders and a guarantee the produce will be bought from them.

Farm Fresh has seen steady demand in its first year and is soon launching in Sierra Leone with plans to extend to Senegal and Ghana among other potential partners in 4 other countries in Africa including South Africa.

KitchenSoko Delivers Fresh Groceries Straight from the Farm to Your Home

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While Winston Wachanga began growing a tomato farm of his own in central Kenya, he experienced the same struggle of various farmers across the country trying to find a buyer.

To solve this problem, Wachanga set up online delivery company Kitchen Soko. In less than a year he has built up a network of 80 local farmers in Kenya whose produce is delivered in a box straight to the customer’s front door.

Kitchen Soko is a fresh food market business enabling you to easily and conveniently buy fresh food directly from the farmers/food producers.

The company offers customers a wide variety of locally sourced, organic and sustainable produce, meat and other food by aggregating goods from multiple farmers and creating a delivery system that can bring together a single order of food within two days. This gives shoppers a wide range of options, including seasonal produce, meats or fish, breads and cheese, as well as pre-made snacks and meals.

One can order online, on phone or through email, the food is prepped as per the order and then it’s aggregated, packed and delivered to your door.

Customers can find out exactly which farm the produce has come from. As such they can avoid consuming toxins in food provided by big suppliers in Nairobi. Recent tests on a sample of food bought in markets and supermarkets in the city found kale containing toxic levels of lead and fruit containing traces of calcium carbide.

Wachanga is one of the tech entrepreneurs tapping into Africa’s middle class as well as the continent’s improving access to internet. In 2013 McKinsey estimated that by 2025 e-commerce could account for 10% of retail sales in Africa’s largest economies.

Kitchen Soko now supplies 500 boxes a week. Expats make up about one quarter of Kitchen Soko’s clients, while the rest are local. You too can join his growing customer base and receive fresh, organic groceries by clicking here.

 

PayGram is an Online Electronic Payment Utility that will Make Your Payments Easier

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PayGram is an online electronic payment utility that enables clients to electronically make and accept payments in a fast, simple, secure and convenient manner. This is done online and via the mobile phone. PayGram allows purchasers to pay for their products, both goods and services online at the same time enables sellers to accept payments from online purchases.

Additionally, PayGram allows its users to settle utility bills, fees, make donations, online and offline. Clients using PayGram are able to make payments to using M-pesa, Airtel Money, Orangemoney, Bank Payments, Mastercard & VisaCard, & Debit and Credit cards. The following are its features;

Round-the-Clock Business

With PayGram your business is able to run all time round including weekends and public holidays. Your clients are able to do their transactions without having to worry about off-business hours. This allows for efficiency and versatility of your business in the ever increasing fast-paced world today.

Accept Global payments

With PayGram, clients are able to make payments globally, using global payment cards. Clients may use Visa Card and Master Card, accept payment from anyone with a Credit or Debit card. Hence your business is able to receive global payments.

Safety, Security and Convenience

PayGram do not hold your money, on the contrary, it is held in a trust account with reputable banking partners for safe custody. This has the effect of facilitating timely settlement and reporting of transactions. We uphold the strictest data security measures to meet the PCI-DSS standards. Additionally, they are regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya and the Communication Authority of Kenya to ensure compliance with their set standards.

Notifications and Reminders

Send free Email and SMS Reminders to customers reminding them to pay free of charge.

Mobile Applications and Facebook App Add-on

Your clients are able to download PayGram Mobile App on their phones and conduct transactions from their phones. Additionally, your customers can buy goods directly from your Facebook page using the PayGram Simple selling app.

e-Invoice

Using PayGram, you can easily and conveniently invoice your clients using online or SMS invoice service giving them options through which they can make payments.

Potential buyers and sellers can sign up here.

Cover Cloud Creates a Unique Ambience with your Personality in Mind Using Music

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The rapid increase in number of hotels, restaurants , spas and gyms within the pan-Africa community has consequently resulted to stiff competition. This has resulted to the dominant players within this industry to opt for a better way to maintain there competitiveness. This simply means food and amenities is no more a competitive advantage as traditionally was, rather visitors experience is what gives competitive edge to this dominant players, And that is what has encouraged the huge spend on ambience by high end players of hospitality industry.

Cover cloud,  founded by Luke Dennis, leverages this unexploited opportunity by creatively providing a state of art, intelligent web platform with a huge database of unique and contemporary music that you never hear on your local station which is carefully selected to fit within your personality and business strategies then curated in a way that observes time in order to create an optimum unique experience to visitors and employees at a premise.

The platform has the following distinct features:

• A feature that assist you to setup music stream relevant to the demography of your visitors.

• A feature that assist in aligning music stream with your space design and deco.

• A feature that helps set up the music stream to unconsciously influence your visitors decisions.

• A feature that facilitates accommodation of business strategies to be enhanced by the streamed music, among many others.

You might want to increase sales or influence purchasing power of your clients. The ambient music leverages proved music psychology facts to unconsciously influence your target clients behavior helping you achieve your desired manipulation of behavior. A good example is how the platforms classical music has been proved to influence clients purchasing power by enhancing an up class effect to your visitors.

Probably your just tired of the monotonous music played on the local station or the common music streaming subscriptions which doesn’t fit to the kind of services your offering at your space and your in need of a large database of music that exactly fits to your service and space and yet maintain non-monotony and cool effect .

Their ambient music ensures that their large database of ambient music curated for you is relevant to your business and works hand in hand with your personality and business strategies.

For more information click here.

Equity Group’s mobile banking transactions grew by 75% to Kshs 309m

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Equity Group made Ksh 6.9b profit before tax and grew its balance sheet by 14% to KShs 492Bn up from KShs 430Bn driven by an 18 percent growth in customer deposits in Kenya and 16% at the Group level against flat growth of the Kenya banking sector.

Even though it had to shut down several of its branches in South Sudan, the Group leveraged on its wide network and brand to grow its deposit base to Kshs 349.3bn from Kshs 300.3bn.

Speaking during the investor briefing and release of its quarter one 2017 results, the Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Mwangi said, “A cautious approach in credit underwriting because of inability to price risk saw the loan book decline by 5% from KShs 275Bn to KShs 262Bn. The increase in funding was invested in government securities which on a risk adjusted basis currently yields similarly to loans, and yielded about 12%. Government securities grew by 81% from KShs 62B to KShs 113B with the highest growth experienced in Kenya where government securities grew by 154% from KShs 42Bn to KShs 105Bn.”

The Group also saw its mobile banking transactions grow by 75% to Kshs 308.8mn up from Kshs 176.9mn while Trade Finance grew by 78% to Kshs 282.8mn from KShs 159. On the other hand the Group’s Diaspora Remittances grew by 79% to Kshs 130.1mn from 72.5mn; agency banking by 19% to Kshs 206.4mn from Kshs 172.8mn and merchant commissions by 8% to Kshs 279.2mn from Kshs 258.3mn.”

The growth in mobile transaction was due to the bank’s new digital banking platform dubbed Eazzy Banking which brought convenience in the banking sector. Eazzy banking App transactions grew by 28%; Eazy Biz by 56%; EazzyNet by 32%; EazzyPay by 171%.

The Group’s effective cost management resulting from a shift from fixed cost to variable cost delivery channels, digitization and pursuit of efficiency saw total cost decline from Kshs 8.4Bn to KShs 8.3Bn with Kenya which is ahead in digitization reducing its total cost by 5% compared to a growth of 8% last year.  The Group posted a zero growth in cost compared to 17% growth in similar period last year. Cost to Income ratio remained constant at 49% at the Group and at 43% for Equity Bank Kenya.

The Group’s regional expansion has started paying off with regional banking subsidiaries increasing their contribution to the Group’s profits from 5% to 10% with Uganda growing by 194%, DR Congo 182%, Rwanda 117% and Tanzania 45%.

Profit before Tax declined by 5% to KShs 6.9Bn down from KShs. 7.3Bn while Profit After Tax declined by 5.5% to Ksh4.9Bn down from KShs 5.1Bn. Equity Group maintained an impressive ROE of 24% and a 4% ROA.

Ghana will export energy by 2020

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By 2020, Ghana will have probably exported power to neighboring countries.

According to Boakye Agyarko, Energy Minister, it will happen when all current reforms in the energy sector are finished. The official shared this information on Tuesday, May 16, during his speech at the National Policy Summit 2017 that took place in Accra.

As YEN informs, the Minister declared that Ghana might generate excess energy capacity of 1,700 megawatts because of numerous working power plants. Moreover, Boakye Agyarko confessed that the proceeds from the surplus power sale would be invested in other vital sectors of the country`s economy.

Currently, Ghana’s total power capacity is distributed between commercial places and households. Now it equals 4,275 megawatts. It is 11,000 megawatts short of the predictable supply of 16,400 to 17,360 GWh.

Statistics says that since 2010, Ghana’s yearly electricity use per capita has been below 400 kWh, while the global minimum average is over 500 kWh.

In 2013-2014, Ghana had a slight boost from 398 to 408 kWh per capita. It is the period of the severest power crisis, which is known as dumsor.

Plenty of foreign and local companies, which had no backup systems at that time, suffered very much throughout the time of power outages. The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research has disclosed the following data: it is almost 20% of the 350 small to medium-scale companies.

Therefore, the government had to sign over 42 power contracts to guarantee a consistent and unwavering energy supply in Ghana.

Moreover, the ex-President of the country John Mahama signed the Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement with the USA government to force reforms at the Electricity Company of Ghana.

The present government also revised this Agreement to abolish paragraphs that might lead to unemployment at the Electricity Company of Ghana.

The Minister Agyarko repeated government’s promise to recover energy supply in the country by modernizing the Electricity Company of Ghana. He emphasized once again that when all existing reforms in the energy sector are being done, Ghana will have probably exported power to neighboring countries by the beginning of 2020.

Kenyan Startup Meta Capital Launches Automated Forex Trading system

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Mr Sila Obegi

A local financial technology firm Meta Capital has launched a three in one financial solution that that makes decisions and trades international currencies on behalf of clients while giving them direct access to competitive fixed deposit and transactional FX rates from local banks.

The Nairobi based Fintech has deployed MetaQuant, SharpFX and MetaFDR in one platform to help clients trade currencies globally, get the best foreign exchange quotes from local banks and fixed deposit rates respectively.

MetaQuant employs artificial intelligence to make decisions and trade for clients with limited time and skills to participate in online foreign exchange trading markets helping them to save hours spent on minute by minute poring over computer screens.

After hundreds of hours and months of coding, Moi University graduate of Business Management Mr Sila Obegi armed with accounting and programming skills says the new software has helped banks to increase their deposits and is linking traders to international markets.

Minimize costs

Mr Obegi who is also the managing director says the system help clients minimize costs and maximize returns.

Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich last year said that there are thousands of Kenyan online traders who keenly follow and trade on the international financial markets. Unlike most of the platforms they use, MetaQuant trades on their behalf.

In transactional Foreign Exchange, the company’s platform SharpFX gives clients direct access to the best exchange rates from a panel of FX providers. It is accessible from all browsers with any computer or device making it easy and convenient to use.

With this platform, clients don’t need to move from bank to bank looking for better exchange rates, instead every time clients wish to transact, they simply go to SharpFX, compare real-time exchange rates from a panel of providers and choose to transact with a provider of their choice hence saving time and money on all their transactions.

Participating banks get to grow their FX volumes due to the direct link to the prospective clients and clients access the service for free. “We do not charge the clients any transaction fees or commissions, we simply give them access to the best exchange rates at no extra cost,” he said.

Best interest rates

In Fixed Deposit Receipts, MetaFDR gives clients direct access to the best interest rates from a panel of FDR providers. It is also accessible from all browsers with any computer or device making it easy and convenient to use.

By simply logging into MetaFDR clients are able to compare real-time interest rates from a panel of banks and choose to deal with one or several banks of their choice. This platform simply helps individuals, businesses and organizations with excess liquidity to create revenue from such liquidity while subsequently helping banks panel grow their deposits.

The connection between clients and banks on the platforms is direct and real-time hence making turnaround time for transacting as short as possible and Meta Capital is never a counter-party when dealing.

Mr Obegi says the company’s overarching goal is to build solutions that enhance efficiency and accessibility in financial markets while subsequently helping banks grow their deposits.

Craft Silicon Invests $500,000 into Kenya’s EatOut to launch a payments wallet for restaurants & cabs

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Craft Silicon, a Kenyan fintech firm has invested $500K into Nairobi-based  restaurant discovery platform EatOut to help it launch a payments wallet for restaurants.

In a statement Craft Silicon CEO, Kamal Budhabhatti said: “EatOut is the go-to source for foodies with a disposable income. They’ve been a catalyst in transforming the region’s food scene.”

Craft Silicon which also runs taxi hailing app Little will use EatOut’s various verticals such Nairobi Restaurant Week, Nairobi Burger Week and Taste Awards to help fuel expansion of Little into Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda where EatOut has a growing user based.

EatOut also runs Yummy Magazine and the recently relaunched Nomad Magazine and  a payments solution.

According to EatOut founder, Mikul Shah: “Over the last 12 months we have been testing our mobile payments and loyalty platform with several partners. In taking this big step forward we wanted a partner that could bring a wealth of industry expertise. The Craft Silicon team has been working with us since inception and we are delighted that they share our vision. It is so encouraging to see a local tech company invest in small businesses within the region. In many ways, this is a first and we hope it will pave way for more businesses to do the same. Craft Silicon has never been shy of a challenge and with products such as Little have shown that they are able to compete head to head with some of the world’s largest tech brands. I’m extremely excited about this next phase in our journey!”

The new EatOut App will allow diners to pay for their meals through their mobile phone. Likewise several bank & lifestyle apps will integrate to EatOut’s network of restaurants.

The investment will also see Craft Silicon’s Head of Merchant Operations Ann Wangu gain a seat on EatOut parent company Websimba Ltd’s board.

General Motors to save $600m as it sells its South African operations to Isuzu Motors

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On February 28th, GM agreed to sell its 57.7 percent shareholding in GM East Africa to Japanese car maker Isuzu and the consequent withdraw of the Chevrolet brand from the market.

Today, the firm announced a similar exit from the South African market after 104 years, in a move expected to save it approximately $100 million and take a charge of approximately $500 million in the second quarter of 2017.

“After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business,” said Jacoby. “We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities.”

Isuzu will acquire GM’s light commercial vehicle manufacturing and GM will cease manufacturing and sales of Chevrolet in the domestic market by the end of 2017. The assets include GM’s Struandale plant and GM’s remaining 30 percent shareholding in the Isuzu Truck South Africa joint venture, with sales through a national dealer network. Isuzu will also purchase GM’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre and assume control of the Parts Distribution Centre.

GM will continue to work with PSA Group to evaluate the future of its Opel brand in South Africa. Importantly, existing Chevrolet and Opel customers will continue to be supported in the market.

“As the industry continues to change, we are transforming our business, establishing GM as a more focused and disciplined company,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We are committed to deploying capital to higher return initiatives that will enable us to lead in our core business and in the future of personal mobility.

“Globally, we are now in the right markets to drive profitability, strengthen our business performance and capitalize on growth opportunities for the long term. We will continue to optimize our operations market by market to further improve our competitiveness and cost base.”

The company will focus its GM India manufacturing operations on producing vehicles for export only and will transition GM South Africa manufacturing to Isuzu Motors. GM’s Chevrolet brand will be phased out of both markets by the end of 2017.

GM Executive Vice President and President, GM International, Stefan Jacoby said the company is running its GM International markets with an enterprise approach and making decisions that are best for the global business.

GM International’s HQ’s in Singapore will retain responsibility for strategic oversight of the remaining regional business and markets, including Australia and New Zealand, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. GM says it took these decisions following an extensive review of its international markets since late 2013.

“These actions will further allow us to focus our resources on winning in the markets where we have strong franchises and see greater opportunity,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “We have compelling plans for growth in both the top line and the bottom line as we invest for the future.”

Zuku’s parent firm Wananchi Group agrees to sell its corporate & enterprise arm to Synergy Communications

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Wananchi Group has finally agreed to sell its corporate and enterprise facing businesses Wananchi Business Services to Synergy Communications (SynCom) after nearly 2 years of internal wrangles by its shareholders including CS Joe Mucheru and founding CEO Njeri Rionge who were opposed to the sell.

The details of the transaction were not made public but speaking on behalf the board, Alex-Handrah Aime, Chairman, Wananchi Group said:  “The decision by the board to sell Wananchi Business Services has been guided by a desire to deepen Wananchi Group’s products and services portfolio within the consumer / retail service segment and to provide best-in-class customer experience to all our clients.”

She added; “We believe that the transaction will unlock shareholder value amidst a competitive and dynamic operating environment defined by rapid technological changes.”

SynCom which is owned by the South Africa’s Convergence Partners Communications Infrastructure Fund will take over Wananchi Business Services which comprise SimbaNET, Wananchi Telecom and iSAT. Convegrgence Partners has interests in South Africa’s Vodacom, Telekom, Vuma, gemalto, Dimension Data and SEACOM.

After the takeover, SynCom will provide dedicated internet, managed network solutions, data centre, cloud and wholesale carrier solutions via fiber, wireless and satellite networks for its corporate and enterprise market. All services currently offered by Wananchi Business Services will continue without interference.

Speaking on behalf of SynCom, Geoff Hardwick, the Chief Executive Officer of SynCom, said; “The proposed acquisition of the units presents a tremendous opportunity for business growth and investment on the back of a proven and successful business model. The focus on corporate and enterprise customers perfectly fits our goal of providing high quality, enterprise communications services and products across the sub-Saharan region”.

The transaction is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.

Wanachi Group last week announced it was shedding hundreds of jobs in a major overhaul to cut down costs and remain competitive against players such as Jamii Telecom, Safaricom home fibre, Liquid Telecom and SEACOM as well pay TV competition from Multichoice’s DStv and GOtv. The deal will help Wananchi Group to focus on consumer products such as residential internet and cable TV services as well as bolster its original programming.

It’s fine for the firm to let SimbaNet go, its marketing teams had no idea what to do but analysts think Wananchi shouldn’t have sold off its Wananchi Telecom arm to help expand into mobile telephone and fintech services to join Equitel and Jamii Telecom which will soon take 4G to people’s homes and mobile phones in the near future. However, to redeem itself Wananchi Group needed more money and it’s okay for it to shed off a number of employees and focus on what it can deliver.

The next step for Wananchi Group is to buy back itself from the many chaotic shareholders especially the founders and creepy and clueless customer care agents, hire innovative lead generation agencies to help it become innovative, improve decision making and let go of extra management baggage.

Pay-as-you-go solar energy firm Solaris Offgrid raises €1M to expand its operations to more emerging markets

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UK and Tanzania-based pay–as-you-go solar energy solutions provider Solaris Offgrid has raised over €1M to fund R&D and grow into new markets – providing more homes and businesses with affordable, clean energy.

The firm will use the funding to launch its operations across the developing world and in continuing to create new, modular and scalable solutions for partners and customers.

Siten Mandalia, co-founder of Solaris Offgrid, said, “We’re proud to have brought clean and safe electricity to almost 10,000 people, across six countries, since we began operations three years ago. But that’s just the beginning. This latest round of funding will prove crucial as we work towards our ambition of providing power to 10 million people by 2022.”

With operations in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Benin and Senegal, Solaris Offgrid designs and manufactures solutions for field partners, enabling them to provide affordable and sustainable energy access in off-grid areas. Solaris Offgrid combines its offer of modular hardware with tailor-made business support and cutting-edge proprietary cloud software – meaning that its partners have access to the exact solution that best meets their needs.

The funding came from new investors InnoEnergy; rural electrification fund, GAIA Impact Fund; and impact investment fund, Zubi Labs.

Hélène Demaegdt at GAIA Impact, says: “We’ve been impressed by Solaris Offgrid’s flexible mind-set and focus on innovation. With this latest funding, we believe the company is now in a strong position from which to accelerate its growth into new areas, create long-term value for its shareholders and stakeholders, and positively impact the lives of millions affected by energy poverty in Africa.”

By the end of 2022, Solaris expects to have installed over 350,000 products into homes and businesses and provide software services for partners to manage a further 1.3 million households’ solar home systems. Based on the estimation that six people live in each home or business, the company predicts they would have reached 10,000,000 people.