Azuri Technologies and First Bank of Nigeria have partnered to supply Pay-As-You-Go home solar products to millions of Nigerians.
The partnership is expected to give rural customers modern financial and digital services while also enabling access to financial services, irrespective of the power challenges experienced at any point in time.
Simon Bransfield-Garth, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Azuri Technologies, who announced the partnership, said low rates of electrification, with Sub-Saharan Africa ranking among the poorest in the world, have been a major impediment to the continent’s economic growth and development prospects.
Bransfield-Garth noted that the scale of Nigeria’s grid electricity deficit is disturbing, adding that the lack of reliable power limits local development and modernisation, forcing people to rely on expensive, harmful fuels and alternatives.
He noted that the partnership with First Bank will extend the reach of solar power while also making it easier for rural consumers to access and pay for new services.
According to Bransfield-Garth, “although many of Azuri’s customers are on a low income, they are still spending a large amount of money on the alternatives. The cost of energy for people who do not have access to the grid is enormous and solar power can provide energy at a much lower cost and with a more reliable service”.
He revealed that more than 100 million Nigerians do not have access to electricity, maintaining that Azuri has been successfully delivering solar power solutions to off-grid communities across Sub-Saharan Africa since 2012.
The founder added that the combined power of Azuri and First Bank will ensure that rural off-grid communities are able to access and benefit from affordable, clean energy and solar based services. He noted that “in Nigeria over the last 18 months alone, Azuri has delivered more than 20,000 solar home lighting systems with the backing of the Nigerian government”.
He said the partnership is designed to ensure Azuri’s solar home TV product will be co-marketed and pay-as-you-go solar customers will be able to make regular top-ups for their solar via First Bank’s Firstmonie agent network or direct from their mobile devices.
Representing the The Deputy Managing Director of First Bank, Gbenga Shobo, the Group Executive, Retail Banking Group, Lagos and West, Tunde Owolabi, said “we are very excited about this partnership because it will bring about energy inclusion, financial inclusion and technology inclusion. If we have all of this, the trend of urban migration might be reduced”.