Norfund investing EUR 10m in pan-African PAYG solar solutions firm Baobab+

Madagascar countryside. Image by: The Meeco Group (www.meeco.net).

October 4 (Renewables Now) - Africa-focused solar kits distributor Baobab+ has received a EUR-10-million (USD 11.6m) equity investment from Norfund, the Norwegian government’s investment fund for developing countries.

The pan-African group, which currently operates in Cote d’Ivore, Mali, Senegal and Madagascar, said the new funds will enable it to strengthen its presence in existing markets and launch operations in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Increased access to electricity greatly improves the living standard of people living in rural or poor areas, and Baobab+ has proven its ability to deliver great impact through a sustainable business model,” Norfund CEO Tellef Thorleifsson said in a statement. “Norfund is looking forward to supporting the company in bringing affordable solar energy to even more households and expanding into new markets through our first investment in the solar home system space in Francophone Africa.”

According to Baobab+, the firm has equipped 220,000 mainly rural households, or about some 1.2 million beneficiaries, in the past five years. Its goal is to equip one million households with solar and digital products within five years.

Besides offering home solar systems under the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) payment model, Baobab+ also provides digital solutions for e-education, health or small business management.

With its parent organisation, microfinance company Baobab Group, Baobab+ has developed a credit scoring framework that allows its PAYG customers to become eligible for a nano-credit using their repayment history from the solar or digital product serving as their first credit experience.

Baobab+ says this solution was first introduced in Senegal, but will be gradually deployed in other countries as well.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.161)

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