The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awards Baobab+ $1.5 million to expand in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), providing access to energy to enable access to finance

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) the need for access to energy is massive, with an estimated 9 percent having access to electricity.

A Baobab+ agent arrives at a customer to install his solar kit
USAID/DIV , USAID’s open innovation program, recently awarded a grant to Baobab+  the leading distributor of solar home systems in Western Africa and Madagascar.Empowering millions of lives with solar energy…In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) the need for access to energy is massive, with an estimated 9 percent having access to electricity. Many of the 11 million households that lack electricity depend on expensive and pollutive small-scale diesel generators as well as charcoal and wood. These standard energy sources deplete the DRC’s forests and often require long distance travel to get supplies—a burden that typically falls on women and children. Solar energy is an exceptional opportunity for rural households that do not have access to electricity. The Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) technology breaks down the cost barrier as it allows the customer to make daily, weekly or monthly payments according to their cash flow to activate their product on the way to gaining ownership.Since launching in 2021, Baobab+ is currently in the Kinshasa, Kwilu and Kikwit areas of the DRC and will soon enter Kwango.Baobab+ is in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, Nigeria and DRC and has equipped 250,000 households serving more than 1.5 million beneficiaries in the past six years.… Access to finance and digital!A large proportion of the population of sub-Saharan Africa also lacks access to credit—74 percent in the DRC and 80 percent in Senegal—due to a lack of collateral or a credit history to secure loans. To increase access to finance in sub-Saharan Africa, Baobab+, in partnership with its microfinance parent company, the Baobab Group, complements its energy business by offering nano loans to customers with successful records of paying down their solar product loans. DIV also supports this nano-loan pilot in Senegal to help reach the base of the pyramid; this offer will later be available in other countries as well.For Baobab+, access to energy is also a springboard to enable every African household to take part in the digital revolution. In Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Madagascar, Baobab+ has been a pioneer in launching a PAYG smartphone offer. In partnership with local start-ups, Baobab+ offers additional content that meets its customers’ needs, such as e-education, health or the management of small business activities. To date, Baobab+ has equipped more than 110,000 households with digital solutions.The pan-African group has demonstrated its robustness after the Covid-19 pandemic crisis: in 2021, Baobab+  experienced sustained +42 percent yearly business growth.Alexandre Coster, co-founder and CEO of Baobab+:“We sincerely thank DIV for their support. This grant was key in our development. It allowed us to expand in the DRC and get started faster. ”This press release is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Baobab+ and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”About Baobab+:Launched in 2015 and operating in six African countries, Baobab+ is a social enterprise that supports households and micro-entrepreneurs in their energy autonomy through the distribution of solar kits, with 250,000 households already equipped (1.5 million beneficiaries), particularly in rural areas. In addition to this primary vocation, the Baobab Group’s subsidiary offers digital devices for educational and professional purposes, with more than 110,000 households (400,000 beneficiaries) already equipped. These products benefit from financing facilities to make them accessible to all.About USAID – Development Innovation Ventures:Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is USAID’s open innovation program that funds breakthrough solutions to the world’s most intractable development challenges. By funding innovation and focusing on rigorous evidence, DIV impacts millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost. Since 2010, DIV has supported 252 awards totaling $172 million.Source Baobab+

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