AFRICA: MIGA guarantees Bboxx solar systems in rural areas

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AFRICA: MIGA guarantees Bboxx solar systems in rural areas© Bboxx RDC

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, has issued guarantees for the Energy Inclusion Facility's Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (EIF-OGEF LP) and the African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3) of the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM). The guarantee covers their investments in the solar home systems provider Bboxx in several African countries.

For the African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3), an investment fund managed by African Infrastructures Investment Managers (AIIM), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is issuing a guarantee of USD 37.1 million. The guarantee covers AIIF3’s equity and quasi-equity/shareholder loan investments in Bboxx’s subsidiaries in Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a maximum term of 10 years.

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MIGA also issued a guarantee of $5.9 million to cover the Energy Inclusion Facility Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (EIF-OGEF LP) investments in Bboxx. The EIF-OGEF LP is a USD 100 million financing facility created by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance the electrification of the African continent through off-grid solutions. Managed by LHGP Asset Management (Lion’s Head), the fund is financed by the European Commission and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and the German development agency Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

Accelerating electrification

According to MIGA, the two recently issued guarantees will cover the risks of currency inconvertibility and transfer restrictions, expropriation, war and civil unrest. These insurances “will strengthen Bboxx’s operations as it expands its clean energy offering. This will greatly enhance economic opportunities in rural areas with low electrification rates. Increased electrification reduces the burden of collecting traditional fuels (wood) and indoor air pollution, both of which disproportionately affect the health and productivity of women and children,” the World Bank subsidiary explains.

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In recent months, the British company Bboxx has strengthened its position in Africa by distributing its equipment in several Central and East African countries. The company distributes solar home systems for households in rural areas. The solar kits not only accelerate access to electricity, but also contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, by replacing paraffin lamps with solar energy. Bboxx also supplies solar lamps, televisions and refrigerators. The UK company also includes in its services, eco-friendly cookers that contribute to the reduction of deforestation. Access to this equipment in rural areas is democratised through a pay-as-you-go system. The system is facilitated by mobile banking, which is accessible everywhere in Africa, even in remote areas.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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