Bboxx partners with major telecommunications operator Orange to connect 150,000 people in DRC to an innovative mini-grid model
1 July 2022 – ARE Member Bboxx, a Pan-African super platform providing access to essential products and services, and Orange, a major telecommunications operator, have partnered to launch a new connected community through an ABC model (Anchor Business Community). The mini-grid project helps to accelerate the provision of clean energy access for households across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), transforming lives and unlocking potential for all.
Less than 10% of the population in the DRC has access to electricity currently, making it the country with the largest number of people without access in Africa after Nigeria.
Today’s official opening ceremony for the mini-grid site in Bukavu, in the presence of Théo NGUABIDJE KASI – Governor of Sud Kivu, Laurent Van Houcke – Cofounder of Bboxx & MD Bboxx Capital, Akim Musimwa – Regional Director of Orange DRC, and Idesbald Chinamula – Managing Direct of ANSER, marks the beginning of this new partnership, and the project forms part of Bboxx’s wider Connected Community program.
Together with GoShop, the largest solar EPC company in the DRC, Bboxx has created a joint venture company to build a hybrid mini-grid plant to supply energy to Orange’s telecoms infrastructure. 85% of the energy will be generated through solar panels, connecting the local community around the telecom tower to clean energy solutions and services.
Bboxx aims to connect more than 600 households in Bukavu by the end of 2022, and is working with the rural energy agency to get into a subsidy program that will enable low-income customers to have access to basic energy supply.
Bboxx will also be partnering with Orange Energie to integrate Orange’s Smart Metering platform and Bboxx Pulse®, Bboxx’s proprietary fully integrated operating system. The merger of these technologies will enable the close monitoring of the mini-grids performance and the remote management of customers, including collecting and managing payments through PAYG (pay-as-you-go) solutions.
Using this innovative and cost-effective ABC model, Bboxx plans to launch 24 additional mini-grid projects with Orange across the DRC over the coming months, electrifying 150,000 people by 2024 and directly addressing the electrification challenge in the country.
This partnership is the first of many within Bboxx’s Connected Community programme, which will see the potential delivery of 750 mini-grids and 1 million customers across Africa within the next 5 years.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, said: “We are incredibly proud to have provided more than 2.5 million people with access to clean energy and other products to date. These kinds of partnerships are vital towards connecting more customers across Africa to essential modern utilities, transforming even more lives and ultimately unlocking more potential. Reaching the UN’s SDG7, clean energy for all, and SDG8, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all, remains central to our mission at Bboxx. We, therefore, look forward to launching additional mini-grid projects in the future, each of which will take us a step closer to reaching these fundamental goals.”
Akim Musimwa, Reginal Director of Grand-KIVU Orange DRC, said: “Orange wants to be much more than a telecom operator in the DRC. The company wants to be a provider of essential services to the population. The development of solutions enabling, as many people as possible to have access to essential daily goods such as sustainable and clean energy, is a strong message towards our company’s ambition. With this project, we are first thinking of the positive impact it will have on the local community with the children being able to do their homework in the evening, the small and medium businesses which will gain in efficiency thanks to having access to a sustainable energy supply for their activities.”