From 1 March, BBOXX customers in Togo will receive a subsidy to spend on solar energy – in what is the first government subsidy for the purpose of solar energy payments in Africa.
Dubbed the CIZO Cheque, households with solar home systems will be granted a monthly subsidy of 2,000 FCFA ($3.5) over a three-year period.
BBOXX’s solar home systems are available to customers via mobile money on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The company has been operating in Togo since December 2017, after being awarded a tender to install 300,000 solar home systems by 2022 across the country, largely in rural areas. Read more: Togo: off-grid electricity market strengthens
This subsidy is targeted at encouraging people to opt for clean solar energy as opposed to kerosene – contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal 7.
Less than a fifth of Togo’s rural population has access to electricity, which is a major stumbling block to economic development.
Innovative solar subsidy
The CIZO Cheque will first focus on 11 regions in the country with the lowest electrification rates, and this forms part of the government’s national electrification strategy, the CIZO initiative.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and co-founder of BBOXX commented: “This pioneering initiative is a major stride forward in tackling a key obstacle to achieving universal electrification in Africa – this being that many customers are still living in poverty.
"Overcoming energy poverty is the first step in overcoming poverty as a whole – as access to electricity brings people into the digital economy and fosters financial inclusion.
“This innovative solar subsidy is a key component along the path to achieving 100% electrification at scale, and will have a positive knock-on effect to the wider Togolese economy. Access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity has transformational benefits for individuals, communities and SMEs as electricity provides the basic pre-requisite for access to all other modern amenities.”
Also commenting on the development, Marc Ably-Bidamon, Togo Minister of Energy said: “Access to electricity is a basic need and the government of Togo is committed to achieving 100% access for all by 2030, by ensuring that no one is left behind. The CIZO Cheque will provide Togolese rural households with access to high quality solar home systems at an affordable price.
“In the context of achieving Paris Agreement, we believe that access to clean electricity for all is an effective way to fight global warming. With private sector partnerships, good regulation and public policy, we are confident that we will achieve our goal by 2030.”