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A solar boost for power-strapped mobile subscribers

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 27 May 2016

A solar boost for power-strapped mobile subscribers

As Africa continues to struggle with a power deficit, a British lawmaker has asked governments on the continent to partner with mobile phone service providers to enable users to purchase solar panels via their mobile phones on a 'pay as you go' basis.

Speaking at the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meeting in Zambia, Nick Hurd said, "The only way to tackle the energy crisis that Africa is currently facing is to adopt the pay as you go option for solar panels. This will allow the poor rural communities to pay for the solar panels through airtime being deducted from their mobile phones each time they recharge until the amount for the solar panels is completed," Hurd said.

He said through this option, most African rural communities would be connected to renewable energy and will depend less on power from the national grid.

Meanwhile, the AfDB, through its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), says it is now well positioned to fund renewable energy projects, including solar and wind power technologies.

AfDB director for energy, environment and climate change Alex Rugamba said looking ahead in 2016 and beyond, SEFA is well positioned with a team of experts and partners to deliver on its commitment as it scales up its interventions in projects origination, seed financing and advisory services.

Rugamba said the overall goal of SEFA is to connect 150, 000 small businesses and households to electricity and raising an additional 500 megawatts of renewable energy mix.

He added that SEFA's project preparation and equity components currently represent an investment pipeline of $711 million. "In 2015 alone, SEFA secretariat screened 115 project preparation funding requests across diverse technologies, sizes and geographies."

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