Shell-Backed Solar Company Bets on Phone Banking for Africa
Friday, March 8, 2013
M-KOPA Kenya Ltd., backed by a Royal Dutch Shell Plc-funded charity, sees sales of its solar-lighting system that allows users to pay by phone surging 13-fold as mobile operators roll out banking services in Africa.
The system, a panel powering lights and a phone charger, links to mobile banking services to allow customers to pay 40 Kenyan shillings (46 cents) a day to use it, M-KOPA says. The company plans to boost clients in Kenya to 100,000 from about 7,500 now, and expand abroad in future, Managing Director Jesse Moore said.
“East Africa is the right market for us,” Moore said in an interview in Nairobi last month. “I wouldn’t be interested in countries where there is no mobile money yet. What I bet on is four, five years from now there is a lot more mobile money happening.”