Taarifa Rwanda

BBOXX Unveils e-Pay In Rwanda – Allowing Anyone In Diaspora To Buy Solar For Relatives

BBOXX has been providing remotely monitored solar home systems (SHS) to urban and rural areas in Rwanda – the company’s largest market – for the past 5 years, positively impacting the lives of more than 80,000 households. 

A research study, conducted over a period of 15 months in Rwanda, showed that having BBOXX electricity at home really transforms people’s lives.

96% of participants declared using a BBOXX Solar Home System (SHS) as their main source of light and 95% felt their quality of life had improved.

Overall 51% of the individuals benefiting from the systems are children and having electricity at home allows them more time to study and do homework.

Also 34% of the study participants were found to use their system to support enterprise and/or spend more time on income-generating activities outside of home.

25% have reported generating additional income due to their BBOXX SHS. 

While our pay-as-you-go energy is more affordable, cleaner and safer than traditional fuel alternatives, some key challenges remain.

The most important of these are accessibility and affordability for the low-income segments of Rwanda’s population. 

“We have been exploring innovative ways to resolve this issue which has resulted in the launch of BBOXX ePay. This new service empowers Rwanda’s diaspora to transform the lives of their families, friends and communities from anywhere in the world through payments that enable energy access.” said Ulrich Reinecker, Group Director Commercial & Innovation BBOXX Africa Management. 

“Affordability remains an issue with the customers that we serve but that has not stopped us as we try to find solutions for it. We do however know that 1 in 2 households in rural areas receive money from someone in a town or city. This innovation is aimed at connecting sponsors to beneficiaries whilst removing some  costs from the value chain. At BBOXX, we are always looking for the most innovative way to serve our customers and this is just the beginning of what we will be able to do.” said Justus Mucyo, Managing Director BBOXX Rwanda.

Accelerating energy access with BBOXX ePay

In 2019, payments to low and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion worldwide, making up the largest source of external financing, bigger even than the foreign aid.

Rwanda is no exception, in 2017 over US$180 million in remittances were received by its population from overseas (World Bank). 

Yet Rwandans sending money back home face many challenges.

Apart from not knowing for sure how the money will be used; they also pay high transfer fees. 

Previous research has found that the cost of sending remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa is far higher than any other part of the world, accounting for approximately 9% of the value of the transaction (Quartz). 

More than half of Rwandan rural households receive cash from family members or friends, whether this is from those living in Kigali or from further afield (EICV5).

Although, on average, 51% of the Rwandan households are now connected to electricity, rural areas have a lower electrification rate than the urban ones.

37% of the population is connected to the national grid and 14% access power through off-grid systems (mainly solar) (REG). 

Through BBOXX ePay, we want to help mobilize money transfers towards sustainable investment into energy.

The new service will not only transform the lives of Rwanda’s communities but also help to contribute towards country’s goal of achieving 100% electrification by 2024.

How does it work?

Family members and friends using BBOXX ePay can select from a variety of packages that include different appliances to send back to their families in Rwanda.

These include 24” LED TVs, portable radios, shavers, portable torches, LED lights and phone chargers.

BBOXX takes care of the installation and trains customer how appliances can be used.

The duration of the pre-paid services is between one to 10 years.

The payments are made securely online with a debit or a credit card.

It is as easy to use as any other e-commerce website, and there are zero transfer fees from anywhere in the world. 

How can you get involved? 

Prices start from USD 65 (or RWF 59,200) for a one-year electricity trial, and we are offering discounts of up to 33%.  

If you want to send energy to someone in Rwanda, please go to epay.bboxx.co.uk. The first 100 customers get an additional discount of $10 (or RWF 9,100) on their purchase, using the promo code: transform.

The project has been developed with the support of Shell Foundation, a UK Charity, and the UK Department for International Development.

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