3 billion people worldwide lack access to reliable electricity, a deficit which makes the IEA estimate that more than 71 percent of new electricity will be via off-grid or mini-grid solutions. A recent report by Wood Mackenzie in collaboration with Energy 4 Impact revealed that investors spent over USD 500 Mn in more than 170 investments in 2018.
Since the turn of 2014, corporate-level investments in clean energy efforts have rallied, just as technological advancements and new business models in the sector. In Africa, 1 in every 3 people does not have access to electricity, leading to the rise of off-grid electricity solutions and multiple investments.
Japanese automotive multinational manufacturer Mitsubishi has invested USD 50 Mn in Africa-focused solar firm BBOXX, a financial consideration which the firm will use to deepen its footprints in Africa and introduce its pay-as-you-go initiative to Asia.
The deal which, according to Mitsubishi, is a substantial investment, also saw the participation of Engie Rassembleurs d’Energies, Dutch impact investment fund DOEN Participaties, Luxembourg-based impact investor Bamboo Capital, Bennett & Company (MKB) and Montreal-based growth equity firm Mackinnon.
March this year, BBOXX successfully crowdfunded USD 6 Mn to improve the continent’s electricity access. Two months earlier than that, the solar firm raised USD 31 Mn for its E.Africa business.
Investments such as these have been encouraged by the fall in the cost of solar technology as well as the strength of mobile banking across Africa. Global energy companies, with the most prominent being America’s General Electric and France’s EDF Energy – to whom’ BBOXX sold a 50 percent stake earlier in the year – have since keyed into the opportunity.
Mansor Hamayun, BBOXX’s co-founder and CEO, said that the technological expertise and extensive reach on the part of Mitsubishi would support the firm in the supplication of electricity to more people in Africa and Asia. Adding, he said: “The funding is further evidence of Japanese interest in Africa and in PAYG [pay as you go] solar energy globally”.
BBOXX is not going to use the funds to provide solar power alone. The firm also plans to offer a range of other key utilities, including gas and water in a bid to improve the standard of living for its customers.
According to the company, it will continue to work out a service platform that has an extensive array of benefits to as many people as possible.
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