Energy and financial services firm Fenix International is working to deploy pay-to-own solar home systems in Zambia leveraging telecommunications giant MTN’s mobile money platform.
In partnership with the Swedish Embassy in Zambia, which committed nearly $3-million to the project up to 2020, Fenix is taking its first step in expanding its flagship product, ReadyPay Power, across Africa, after successful deployment in Uganda.
ReadyPay Power, which is also supported by aid of $750 000 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides offgrid customers access to affordable, expandable solar home systems to power households and small businesses.
In a deal with MTN, Fenix customers with the installed system will make instalments of around $0.20 a day through MTN Mobile Money until they have paid for the system in full.
“Approximately 15-million Zambians live without access to the electrical grid, representing 80% of the total population and 95% of rural residents,” explained Fenix International CEO Lyndsay Handler.
With backing from the Swedish Embassy and USAID, Fenix expects to reach 850 000 rural Zambians by 2020.
“Our solar home systems not only provide light and energy, but our unique Fenix credit score makes upgrades and additional life-changing products accessible to committed customers as their needs and incomes grow,” Handler noted.
Fenix uses the continuous micropayments through MTN’s mobile money to generate a credit score, thereby enabling customers to access additional system upgrades or financial services.
“With MTN’s distribution networks, we’ll be able to reach unbanked and offgrid customers. Once power and credit are established, the possibilities to bring other life-changing products – from smart phones to financial services – are endless,”
“Over 90 per cent of rural Zambians lack access to electricity and have no options other than dangerous candles and kerosene lanterns to light their homes.
“This is the harsh reality of the situation which we are working to change. Our solar home systems not only provide light and energy, but our unique Fenix credit score makes upgrades and additional life-changing products accessible to committed customers as their needs and incomes grow.
“Ten years from now, we hope to eliminate the use of candles and be an important part of our customers’ lives across Zambia.”
Wane Ngambi, Head of Mobile Financial Services, MTN Zambia, adds: “The transformative relationship between MTN Mobile Money and off-grid energy has been an exceptional revelation.
“MTN Mobile Money now sits at the heart of many households, who use these simple and secure services daily to light up their lives. For us, this is all part of the mission to create mobile solutions which make a difference.” Handler concluded.