Sending energy home: Bboxx helping Rwandan diaspora fund energy access for friends and family

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As part of our continued strive to discover innovative technologies and business models that bring improved energy access, we have recently supported Bboxx – alongside our co-funding partner the UK Government – to launch a new payment platform that allows Rwandans to ‘send energy home’ from anywhere in the world.

Friends and family can use the new Bboxx ePay service to select from a variety of Bboxx solar-powered appliances, including TVs, radios, shavers, torches, LED lights and phone chargers, and pre-pay for the energy from one to 10 years.

“While Bboxx’s pay-as-you-go energy is more affordable, cleaner and safer than traditional fuel alternatives, a key challenge in the expansion of this type of energy access remains accessibility and affordability for low-income segments of Rwanda’s population,” says Mansoor Hamayun, Bboxx CEO and co-founder.

“The ePay service empowers Rwanda’s diaspora to transform the lives of their families, friends and communities from anywhere in the world through payments that enable energy access.”

In 2019, payments to low and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion worldwide, making up the largest source of external financing. Rwanda is no exception and in 2017, over $180 million in remittances were received by its population from overseas (Source: World Bank).

ePay transactions are made securely online with a debit or a credit card. It is as easy to use as any other e-commerce website, and there are zero transfer fees from anywhere in the world.

More than half of Rwandan households receive payments or gifts from family members or friends, whether this is from those living in Kigali or from further afield. At the same time, there is a substantial electrification gap with current rates at an average of 34%. However, this ranges from 85% in urban areas to as low as 24% in rural areas (Source: World Bank).

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