How is it that there are more people in Sub-Saharan Africa with a mobile phone connection than any form of electricity? Over 700 million people across the region have a mobile phone, whereas only 450 million Africans have access to reliable electricity.
There are just under 600 million Africans without any form of power whatsoever, and there are now energy startups making a real difference to provide power to those without it. One of these companies is called Bboxx.
Bboxx ‘provides affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world‘ and they have the ambition to electrify 20 million people over the world by 2020.
Their business model allows for customers to pay for electrification packages. These are a few dollars each month and provides solar panels, batteries and high-efficiency appliances to create their own off-grid electrical power.
Bboxx can work as an off-grid power source or can be complemented by on-grid base-load power for larger home appliances, such as fridges and televisions.
They are working with national governments across Africa to fit energy packages to households in the most remote parts of the continent, where on-grid power just cannot reach.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has asked Bboxx to supply 2.5 million connections to its off-grid citizens by 2020, and Togo has signed a contract for over 300,000 solar home kits by 2022.
Off-grid power is becoming more common across Sub-Saharan Africa and with companies such as Bboxx leading the way, it is only a matter of time until Africa reaches universal access.
Notwithstanding, off-grid power works very well in remote communities and villages, but Sub-Saharan African governments need to focus on providing cheap, affordable and reliable power by pushing for more public and private investment in coal, gas and oil power projects to set a sustainable base-load for all of their citizens.
Bangladesh is a key example of transforming their electricity output, having quadrupled their supply in the last ten years, meaning another 299 million Bangladeshis now have access to electricity.
It is only a matter of time until Sub-Saharan Africa follows suit.