Azuri Technologies, a leading provider of pay-as-you-go solar home systems and Unilever Kenya, the leading provider of consumer goods in Africa, have announced a partnership to bring solar power solutions to millions of more off-grid homes across Kenya.
The announcement was made this week after British Prime Minister, Theresa May and UK business leaders, including Azuri CEO, Simon Bransfield-Garth arrived in Kenya for a state visit to boost trade ties.
Under the terms of the agreement, Azuri’s ‘Quad’ solar home lighting system will be co-branded with the Unilever ‘Sunlight’ brand and offered through Unilever’s distribution network, which in Kenya is some 67,000 smallholder traders. The Unilever distribution network will complement Azuri’s existing partners, Raj Ushanga House and Mobicom.
Over 600 million people in Africa have no access to electricity and many such households are located in regions where the provision of grid electricity is prohibitively expensive. Azuri has been helping to address this challenge since 2012, through its innovative solar home solutions, delivering reliable, renewable and distributed power on an affordable pay-as-you-go basis.
The partnership between Azuri and Unilever marks the next step in this journey, expanding the reach of Pay-as-you-Go solar through the widely-recognised and trusted Sunlight brand of washing powder and building on Unilever’s mission to bring high-quality sustainable products to Kenyan consumers.
Solar power has been shown to have powerful economic and social benefits. A recent study reports owners of solar home systems on average increased their incomes by $35 per month. In addition, data shows that children spend more time doing homework in the evenings and to date, Azuri has created over 2,000 new jobs through its Kenyan partner companies to sell, support and maintain solar home systems.
“The partnership with Azuri will help deliver life-changing solar technology to off-grid communities and provide Unilever customers and traders with the benefits of modern energy,” explained Justin Apsey, Managing Director for East Africa at Unilever.
“Solar power is proven to support the local and wider economy and further supports Unilever’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he continued.
“Azuri is delighted to be partnering with Unilever to expand further the reach of solar pay-as-you-go technology,” said Azuri CEO, Bransfield-Garth.
“The partnership is fully aligned to both Azuri and Unilever’s mission to a triple bottom line of simultaneously delivering social, environmental and financial returns to customers and investors alike,” he added.
“Azuri Technologies’ innovative approach to mobile technology embodies the pioneering spirit of innovation for which Cambridge is globally renowned,” commented Prime Minister May head of the announcement.
“I’m delighted that Azuri Technologies is joining me on this visit and they are a fantastic example of the successful UK companies can achieve when they think big and forge global partnerships,” she said.