Mastercard And M-KOPA Partner To Expand Solar Energy Access In Africa

Mastercard And M-KOPA Partner To Expand Solar Energy Access In Africa

American financial services corporation Mastercard and Kenyan pay-as-you-go solar energy provider M-KOPA have partnered in an effort to expand solar opportunities for homes and businesses in Africa.

The partnership will see M-KOPA piloting Mastercard’s quick response (QR code) payment technology in Uganda, with the aim of improving access to its pay-as-you-go solar service, according to a Mastercard press release.

M-KOPA provides affordable, safe and clean energy to three million people in East Africa, while Mastercard’s Masterpass QR technology and infrastructure will enable the solar offering to scale and grow across the continent.

Masterpass QR is currently available in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, which is why the East African nation was chosen for the pilot phase of the partnership.

A successful pilot program will see the partnership extend to other parts of the continent.

Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president, Commerce for Every Device, Mastercard, explained the importance of the new partnership for those it intends to benefit.

“We may take for granted our ability to produce light with the simple flick of a switch. But for many around the world, simple things like having electricity can be life changing,” Del Valle said in the press release.

“By using our digital payment capabilities, we want to make it easy for people to access reliable and regular sources of energy and become more economically resilient – earn a livelihood by working from home, keep shops and businesses open for longer and study after dark,” she added.

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Giving Africans electricity access through solar energy

Over 80 percent of households in sub-Saharan Africa are not connected to the national electric grid that’s monopolized by inefficient state-run power companies, according to CCTV Africa.

Due to insufficient capacity, poor reliability, and high costs, only around 32 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, ENCA reports.

Pay-as-you-go solar is changing that reality for many Africans, thanks to the efforts of M-KOPA, which provides affordable means for users to buy solar products on credit and build a creditworthiness and profile that will enable the purchase of more products over time.

Nick Hughes, co-founder and chief product officer, M-KOPA Solar, expressed his belief that the Mastercard partnership will improve access to solar for more homes and businesses across the continent.

“We’ve proven that the pay-as-you-go solar model works in East Africa, but the off-grid market in Africa is tremendous. Our partnership with Mastercard provides the roadway for more solar services and infrastructure across the continent,” said Hughes in the press release.

“QR technology holds great opportunity to extend the range of payment channels for customers and represents a step-change in our mutual goal to light up homes and businesses in Africa.”