11 October 2011 - NICE International BV, a company based in The Netherlands, has launched the large-scale roll-out of its successful social business concept. The expansion will provide widespread access to energy and ICT in Africa. It is expected to create opportunities for social and economic development for one million people, making the project one of the most ambitious of its kind.
The innovative business model is based on a self-sustained network of franchised ICT-facilities that are powered by solar energy and run by local entrepreneurs. In the centers people can get access to Internet and development services, such as e-learning tools, IT- and business-training, online health-care, and a cinema for entertainment as well as education purposes. A strong focus on these ICT-related products and services, allied to a reliable energy supply, has proven its income-generating potential.
The NICE concept has already been successfully implemented in The Gambia and will now be scaled up in size and geographical scope. In the next four years, fifty more NICE centers will open in rural and peri-urban locations in The Gambia, Tanzania and Zambia.
NICE was originally initiated by Energy4All Foundation in 2006. The roll-out will be implemented in cooperation with Viafrica Tanzania and Macha Works in Zambia. The project is financially supported with a EUR 2.5 million grant from the European Union and EUR 1 million co-funding by Dutch development bank FMO, and private investors Rabobank and Schneider Electric.
ARE is one of the three key partners of the NICE roll-out project.