This is the first step in a long-term strategic partnership that will see the two companies expand access to clean energy to other African countries in future.
So far only 5% of rural population in Burkina Faso has energy access, holding back development. The Burkina Faso government plans to increase access to energy, with electrification rates currently at 18%, and falling to 5% for the rural population.
This new partnership allows Bboxx and Geocoton Advens Group to impact the lives of two million people in Burkina Faso, through access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. The partnership will also create jobs and employ more than 500 people locally, spurring economic development and local opportunities.
Having brought tech-enabled off-grid energy to countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past, Bboxx will implement its tried and tested model, Bboxx Pulse— a comprehensive management platform that helps scale up energy access to places previously considered too difficult or expensive to reach, via traditional grid infrastructure.
The Geocoton Advens Group has been active in Burkina Faso, and other countries of West and Central Africa, for more than 70 years now. It has enabled the development of cotton cultivation by small village farmers, its industrial transformation as well as export. It is also very active in the valuation of cotton by-products and draws on its network of more than 350,000 cotton producers, who have substantial energy needs.
Bboxx and Geocoton Advens Group is targeting to provide energy to this established cotton farming market, the wider value chain and distribution networks within these communities, and the broader Burkina Faso population. The announcement comes as instability and insecurity in East and Northeast Burkina Faso is having a major impact on people’s livelihoods. Bboxx will provide vital energy access in these areas through Geocoton Advens Group’s operations, which will allow people to generate an income.
Other than its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Solar Home Systems (SHS), Bboxx is planning to introduce additional services in the future, such as PAYG LPG clean cooking services and solar-powered water pumps for farmers. SHS are more affordable than other pollutives, as customers only pay for what they use, which is important for a country where 43% of the population lives on less than US$1.90 a day.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and co-founder of Bboxx, commented, “While energy access rates in Burkina Faso are very low, the potential to positively impact people’s lives for the better, through clean energy is immense. Forging strategic partnerships is core to how we bring together the financing and momentum required to provide millions of people with much-needed clean energy. This market entry is the first of many, and we’ve got an exciting pipeline of activity ahead of us on our mission to transform lives through access to energy.
“As we gear up to COP26, we cannot let our foot off the gas if we are to make meaningful progress on meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 – clean energy for all. Now is the time for even more collaboration, innovation and action. Across the globe, the ‘build back better’ agenda has taken centre stage – but to truly accelerate greener and fairer economic development, we need to bring people out of energy poverty,” he added.
Karim Ait Talb, COO of Geocoton Advens Group said, “The Geocoton Advens Group is delighted to diversify with its partner Bboxx in the provision of solar energy. This aligns with our desire to improve the living conditions of village cotton producers. Providing renewable energy to the rural population is a major challenge, so it is important we take advantage of the technological progress by Bboxx. Bboxx’s innovative technology and proven approach to expanding access to clean energy is something we’re excited to be a part of – and we have been impressed with their progress to date across Africa.”
“Together we will help to tackle the challenges faced by many in Burkina Faso. We will help to provide millions of people with energy needed to create greater economic opportunities for farmers and the population of Burkina Faso. We are also looking forward to expanding our partnership with Bboxx into other countries,” he added.