Yellow to deploy $14m solar kits in East Africa

Source; Afrik 21

Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Madagascar will benefit from the solar home systems, which provide rural households with access to electricity. The kits developed by Yellow, a start-up based in Lilongwe, Malawi, have just received up to 14 million dollars as part of a fund-raising round. The Series B round, managed by the Nigerian investment company Convergence Partners, saw the participation of the Energy Entrepreneur Growth Fund (EEGF) supported by the Anglo-Dutch Cooperation.

The funding injected into Yellow’s capital should enable it to tackle the challenges of financial inclusion, the development of clean energy and digital connectivity on the continent. The company, which boasts over 1,100 agents and more than 400,000 customers in its five markets, owes its popularity to its pay-as-you-go model and its smartphones. Its small solar home system consists of a 6W-10W panel, a 20-50Wh battery, a mobile phone charger and a radio.

“We will expand our product offerings to include other mobile financial services, growth will be primarily driven by deepening our expertise in our existing product categories to reach more customers,” says Mike Heyink, Yellow’s founder and CEO. Since its creation in 2018, the start-up has received technical and financial support from a number of partners.

These include fund manager Lion’s Head and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Power Africa initiative. Just a few months ago, the solar solutions provider obtained a $5 million loan from Oikocredit, an impact investor based in Utrecht in the Netherlands. The funds were used to strengthen its activities in East Africa, particularly in Uganda, where only 44.5% of the population is connected to the national electricity grid, according to the World Bank.

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