Yesterday (19 April), the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, along with Pete Vowles, Department for International Development (DFID) in Kenya visited M-KOPA Solar to see how digital innovation can tackle poverty, provide clean energy and empower.
M-KOPA, which lists the DFID and Sir Richard Branson among its investors, has connected more than 330,000 homes in Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda to solar power and is adding over 500 new homes every day.
Each 8W battery powered-system they supply comes with three lights, mobile phone-charging and a solar powered radio. They now also have an option for a 20W system with digital TV.
As of March 2016, M-KOPA employs 757 full time staff and 1,251 field agents. They sell directly to their customers through a network of 100 service centers spanning across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
In February 2016, M-KOPA was recognised as the Best Mobile Innovation for Emerging Markets at the Global Mobile Awards. In 2015, they were recognised by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 50 Companies Changing The World and won the Zayed Energy Future Prize.
M-KOPA has also won the 2014 Bloomberg Pioneer Award and 2013 FT/IFC Excellence in Sustainable Finance Award.
During their visit, Mr Hailey and Mr Vowles met M-KOPA Solar Managing Director, Julian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell who joined the company in 2015 having previously established a Consumer Finance Operation in Kenya.
Julian has over 12 years Operational and Strategic experience with the British Forces as well as a BSc (Hons) from Oxford Brookes University and an MSc from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.
Earlier in the day, the British diplomatic duo visited Nairobi’s iHub and Gearbox.