M-KOPA Partners with Mastercard to Provide Off-Grid Solar Solutions in Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 625 million people still lack access to electricity


M-KOPA Solar, a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) energy provider to off-grid homes, has partnered with Mastercard to provide electricity access to households in Africa. The partnership will provide Africans living without electricity a simple way to light up their homes and businesses with solar power.

As the next step forward, M-KOPA Solar will pilot Mastercard’s Quick Response (QR) payment technology in Uganda to extend the reach of its pioneering PAYG solar program.

Masterpass QR, an open and inter-operable technology, will create a new payment channel for M-KOPA’s PAYG customers outside of Kenya. The mobile network operators and banks using Masterpass QR will help M-KOPA scale and grow across Africa without requiring additional technology investments.

Masterpass QR is currently available in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Following a successful pilot, Mastercard and M-KOPA plan to extend the program across East Africa. Mastercard will also work with mobile network operators to extend this model to other utilities like water and gas in the developing markets across the world.

“By using our digital payment capabilities, we want to make it easy for people to access reliable and regular sources of energy and become more economically resilient – earn a livelihood by working from home, keep shops and businesses open for longer and study after dark,” Kiki Del Valle, the senior vice president at Mastercard, said in a media statement.

“We’ve proven that the pay-as-you-go solar model works in East Africa, but the off-grid market in Africa is tremendous. Our partnership with Mastercard provides the roadway for more solar services and infrastructure across the continent,” said Nick Hughes, the co-founder of M-KOPA Solar.

Mercom previously reported, M-KOPA Solar secured $80 million of committed financing from Stanbic Bank, CDC, FMO, and Norfund. M-KOPA has also secured $25 million in debt from responsAbility, Symbiotics, and Triodos Investment Management.

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 625 million people still lack access to electricity. Consequently, this region has the potential to become a huge market for M-KOPA Solar to tap into.

According to Mercom’s Solar Funding Tracker, M-Kopa has raised approximately $142 million to date in VC and debt financing.

Image credit: Mastercard

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.