Electrification: EDF buys solar kit supplier upOwa in Cameroon

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Electrification: EDF acquires solar kit supplier upOwa in Cameroon ©EDF

In Cameroon, start-up upOwa is under new ownership. The supplier of solar home systems has just been acquired by Électricité de France (EDF). The young company is active in rural electrification.

Électricité de France (EDF) is strengthening its position in Cameroon. The French company has just acquired upOwa, a Yaoundé-based company specializing in rural electrification. In Cameroonian villages, the company founded in 2014 installs solar home systems that have gained a certain notoriety throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2019, upOwa has been majority-owned by the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) through a €1.3 million investment made as part of a $3 million fundraising round. “With the support of REPP as a major shareholder, upOwa has grown significantly in recent years, providing tens of thousands of people with their first access to energy,” says Brian Lukera Wambani, Investment Director and REPP Manager at Camco, the investment platform’s manager.

EDF on conquered ground in Cameroon

He adds that “with EDF’s technical and financial support, the company is ready to continue its growth and have a greater impact in the country”. According to the UK government-funded platform, following the acquisition, “EDF plans to use its global expertise to help accelerate upOwa’s development and diversify its offerings, including innovative solutions focused on refrigeration, decarbonized cooking and internet access in rural areas”.

Read also- CAMEROON: after Nachtigal, France’s EDF to build a new dam on the Sanaga river

To date, upOwa has already provided 140,000 people with access to electricity. Like other solar home system suppliers active in Africa, the start-up headed by Loic Descamps is banking on the pay-as-you-go system to facilitate the acquisition of its equipment by rural households. EDF’s takeover of the start-up strengthens its influence in Cameroon’s energy sector. The French giant is currently building the country’s largest hydroelectric dam, on the Sanaga River.

With an installed capacity of 420 MW, the Nachtigal hydroelectric scheme is due to come on stream progressively from early 2024. EDF is also developing the Kikot hydroelectric project, 60 km northwest of the capital Yaoundé. This other hydroelectric development on the Sanaga River will have a capacity of 500 MW.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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