Zimbabwe Off-Grid Solar Start-up Lands Kiva Direct to Social Enterprise Loan
Off-grid solar start-ups are cropping up across sub-Saharan Africa, conveying the advantages and benefits of reliable, affordable, safe and environmentally friendly electrical power to local communities at an unprecedented rate.
It’s not the sort of “big” business that makes major business news headlines, but Africa’s solar start-ups are having an outsized, positive impact and proving that a little bit can go a long way. Their success is also helping reshape longstanding notions of international development, foreign aid and direct investment by tapping into the latent talent, ability and resourcefulness of local Africans.
Take Zimbabwe, for example, where 11 million of a total population of 15.6 million people live in rural areas. Three-quarters of them (8.25 million) live off-grid and depend on kerosene for lighting. Those that are connected to the national power grid typically suffer from inconsistent, poor quality service, according to Zonful Energy.
A budding home solar consumer finance company, the off-grid solar start-up recently secured a $50,000 loan from Kiva’s Direct to Social Enterprise Fund to expand its business.