Fenix International, a subsidiary of the French giant Engie, has entered the solar home kits market in Mozambique. It has joined forces with Vodacom and Vodafone M-Pesa SA, two companies that provide a "mobile money" service.
A new player has joined the solar home kits market in Mozambique. It is Fenix International, a subsidiary of the French group Engie, based in Kampala, Uganda. For each household, Fenix supplies a kit consisting of a solar panel, a battery, energy-saving bulbs and spare terminals for mobile phones or plugs for radios and televisions.
A tailor-made solution for households, especially in rural areas. Fenix has moved to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It has started distributing solar kits in the southern region. The next step focuses on Nampula province in northeastern Mozambique. Within a year, Fenix hopes to extend this service to the entire country. The company aims to reach 200,000 households by 2022.
Mozambique “represents an optimal market for off-grid solar products, with only 27% of households currently connected to electricity and a widely distributed population. Fenix’s activities here will focus on those who need access to energy most, especially in the northern districts and those who use expensive, polluting and dangerous methods such as kerosene or candles to light their homes,” explains Luke Hodgkinson, Fenix Mozambique’s Executive Director.
In this southern African country, the populations benefiting from solar kits live mainly in rural areas. Problem: They have very low purchasing power and do not have access to traditional banking services. Fenix solves this problem by allowing them to pay for solar kits in small amounts (pay-as-you-go) via “mobile money”, a service provided mainly by telephone operators such as Vodacom or Vodafone through its M-Pesa service.
This strategy has already enabled it to provide solar kits to 500,000 households in Uganda, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Benin and Nigeria. The arrival of Fenix International in Mozambique is welcome for the government, which has set itself the objective of providing access to electricity for the entire population by 2030, by launching the ProEnergia initiative. To achieve this goal, it recently issued a call for tenders to connect 260,000 urban households to the national electricity grid. This project follows the commissioning of several renewable energy production facilities. The Mozambican government is relying on off grid for the electrification of rural areas.
Jean Marie Takouleu