IFC, FMO invest in Mobisol to deliver solar energy in East Africa

13 Dec 2016, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


IFC and FMO invested €14.6 million in Mobisol to deliver pay-as-you-go solar energy services to off-grid communities in East Africa.

Philippe Le Houérou, Executive Vice President and CEO, International Finance Corporation

The International Finance Corporation and FMO, the Dutch development bank, have invested €14.6 million in Mobisol GmbH, a Berlin-based solar energy company, to deliver pay-as-you-go solar energy services to off-grid communities in East Africa. The IFC, in a statement released on Monday, said the financing will accelerate Mobisol’s growth in its existing markets of Rwanda and Tanzania and also support its expansion into Kenya.

The Washington D.C-based lender said it invested €5.42 million in Mobisol, while two Dutch government funds managed by FMO invested €9.2 million in the company. With their investments, the lenders are now partners with Investec Asset Management’s African Private Equity Fund and DEG, which have already invested in Mobisol.

“IFC’s investment in Mobisol reflects our commitment to bridging the infrastructure gap and to mitigating climate change by delivering reliable, clean and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels for lower income households in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC’s Director for East and Southern Africa. “Our partnership with Investec Asset Management, FMO and DEG will help deliver the Mobisol solar home systems to other parts of Africa.”

Mobisol has installed over 67,000 solar home systems in Rwanda and Tanzania, giving access to electricity and the use of efficient appliances to over 330,000 consumers. The cost of the solar system is paid off by customers over a three-year period via mobile money. With this payment approach, the cost of an entry-level Mobisol system is similar to what customers spend on kerosene, candles, batteries, and mobile phone charging.

The solar energy systems come in varying sizes from 80 to 200-watt peak capacity (Wp), providing enough electricity to power bright efficient LED lights, radios, mobile phones, TVs, DC fridges and other household and consumer appliances. The systems are also powerful enough to run small businesses – such as barber shops, village cinemas, mobile phone charging stations, etc – enabling entrepreneurial customers to create incremental income, according to Mobisol.

“Our partnership with IFC and FMO, alongside Investec Asset Management, marks an important milestone in the growth history of Mobisol,” said Thomas Gottschalk, Founder and CEO of Mobisol. “We are excited by the value such a reputable list of global investors stand to bring to Mobisol. We can now concentrate on scaling and even better serving our customers.”

The IFC said the Mobisol investment builds on its pioneering Lighting Global programme, which seeks to support the development of solar off-grid energy markets. As an associate of this programme, Mobisol has received IFC’s advice on how to verify the quality of its products, market them and expand its reach on the basis of sales trends, the multilateral lender said.