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Image: Screenshot from M-KOPA's Impact Report

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M-KOPA Releases Its 2021 Impact Report

M-KOPA, a connected asset financing platform that offers underserved and unbanked customers across Africa access to life enhancing products and services, has just released its Impact Report for 2021. M-KOPA was established over 10 years ago, and pioneered and helped catalyze the growth of the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar market.

By combining the power of digital micro-payments with IoT (Internet-of-Things) connectivity to make credit more accessible, M-KOPA has since built one of the world’s most advanced digital credit platforms that has enabled underserved and underbanked communities to get access to credit. Its work has resulted in over 1 million customers having access to solar lighting, energy-efficient televisions and fridges, cash loans, smartphones, health insurance, and more.

M-KOPA’s Impact Report cites that about 85% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $5.50 per day and earn variable daily or weekly incomes working in the informal economy. It is therefore quite difficult for most of them to get access to credit. Platforms that enable customers to pay the cost of an essential product in daily, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) installments allow customers to access goods and services otherwise unaffordable as a lump sum purchase. Credit solutions can therefore be purposefully designed around the ebbs and flows the members of the community are accustomed to in terms of daily earning and spending. This helps to unlock a new level of financial inclusion.

Here are some of the highlights of M-KOPA’s social and environmental impact at the end of 2021:

  • $600 million of credit unlocked for its customers
  • Over 1 million solar home systems sold, avoiding 2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from kerosene lanterns.
  • Over 1 million individuals accessing high quality smartphones, enabling access to information and earning opportunities online

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest internet adoption rate in the world. The report cites that currently, 72% of the continent (or 1 billion people) are excluded as they cannot afford the upfront costs of devices such as smartphones. M-KOPA’s credit model removes these barriers. M-KOPA says that its service has enabled more than 1,000,000 entrepreneurs, students, and business owners to harness the mobile internet as their springboard into the digital economy. They add that for every four smartphones sold, one individual is accessing the internet for the first-time.

The report also states that 86% of customers say that the quality of their lives has improved because of M-KOPA. 40% of M-KOPA products are primarily used by women, and 3.7 million lives are impacted with clean energy and health services.  Full time staff at M-KOPA more than doubled from 2019 to 2021 with 944 additional jobs created. M-KOPA also expanded its sales force from 2,500 to 10,000 income earning agents.

Having unlocked $600 million of credit for its customers so far, M-KOPA hopes to reach over 20 million customers in Africa and unlock over $7 billion in credit by 2026. The platform, infrastructure, and ecosystem that M-KOPA has built is now also helping advance another critical sector, electromobility! Recently M-KOPA and Roam signed a major supply agreement, the first-ever large-scale supply agreements for electric motorcycles in Africa. The agreement will enable the credit sales of electric motorcycles, lowering the barrier to entry for customers through affordable payment plans. Roam will deliver the fleet by the end of 2022 in time for mass deployment in early 2023. This milestone supports Roam’s vision of making electric vehicles more accessible to a broader market.

Motorcycles are a key pillar of the transport landscape across Africa, with a large market share across  the logistics, taxi, and personal transport sectors. 99% of the motorcycles being assembled in Africa or imported onto the continent are still internal combustion engine motorcycles that contribute a significant portion of emissions from the transport sector. Therefore, accelerating the adoption of electric motorcycles has become critical.

 
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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