RWANDA: Engie and OffGridBox provide green energy, water and Wi-Fi in Kigali

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RWANDA: Engie and OffGridBox provide green energy, water and Wi-Fi in Kigali ©UNDP

Engie Energy Access, the subsidiary of French energy company Engie, has just signed an agreement with the decentralised clean energy solutions provider OffGridBox to supply electricity, drinking water and Wi-Fi to households in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

An alliance is being formed for solar energy, drinking water and Wi-Fi in Rwanda. This partnership is initiated by Engie Energy Access, the new flagship of French energy company Engie, which now includes Engie Mobisol, Fénix International and Engie PowerCorner. The company, which specialises in decentralised renewable energy solutions, has decided to work with OffGridBox, which supplies containerised systems for drinking water and solar energy.

The aim of this alliance is to supply electricity, drinking water and Wi-Fi to 200 off-grid households in the Rwandan capital Kigali. To achieve this objective, the OffGridBox company will install its containerised systems covered with solar panels and equipped with electricity storage and water purification systems. The container will also be able to provide internet connection via a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Rechargeable batteries

Subscribers to this service will each receive a battery, three LED bulbs (which save electricity), a charger for mobile phones and a water canister. “For a small fee, customers can recharge their 40 Wh battery to power the light bulbs for 4 hours, charge their phone or operate small electronic equipment, and collect 10 litres of drinking water each time,” explains Engie Energy Access.

The system set up by the two companies can also provide electricity to a school or clinic through a small network connected to the containerised system. “This pilot project, which was successfully launched in early October, addresses the two main basic needs of communities in Africa: access to clean drinking water and sustainable energy. It will meet the needs of 18% of households in Kigali that currently have no access to electricity, and will serve as a back-up system for lighting and phone charging in the region,” explains Engie Energy Access.

A windfall for OffGridBox

Engie Energy Access, which employs 325 people in Rwanda, says its collaboration with OffGridBox will also help women get jobs, particularly in the management of containerised battery charging and drinking water distribution systems. The project stems from a call for solutions for access to drinking water and clean energy in cities, launched by French giant Engie in Rwanda.

“Our three-year experience in providing clean drinking water and clean energy to rural communities in Rwanda will help us to implement this project, and we intend to extend our activities to other regions of the country,” explains OffGridBox. The company, founded in 2016, has already installed its containerised systems in several African countries including Madagascar, South Africa, Somalia, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Jean Marie Takouleu

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