By Peter Uzoho
As part of efforts to address challenges hindering energy access to
households in unbanked and underserved communities in Nigeria, five leading solar home system companies have successfully integrated into Swifta, a technology company offering a wide range of IT services and products through its strong cash collection agent
The companies include Azuri Technologies, A Solar, Oolu Solar, Smarter Grid International (SGI) and Sosai Renewable Energy Company.
The integration and partnership followed a rigorous User Acceptance
Test (UAT) initiated and funded by the Nigerian Off-grid Market
Accessibility Programme (NoMAP), a market building programme jointly
supported by the Shell Foundation and the USAID. It was aimed at easing
subscription collection from unbanked Pay As You Go (PAYGO) customers
of the companies in remote communities.
Announcing the integration at a press conference in Lagos, the Programme
Manager, NoMAP, Mr. Adedotun Eyinade, explained that the system was designed in such a way that allows a PAYGO customer of any of the five solar companies with a subscription plan to renew the subscription through Swifta’s mobile or static agents, leveraging on the company’s
proprietary Onmibranch platform.
Eyinade said: “Customers who are unbanked and living off the grid
often face the arduous task of not being able to access Pay As You Go
solar since there are limited options to pay for their monthly
“Thanks to the integration into Swifta agent’s network. PAYGO customers can now seamlessly pay for their monthly subscription
through cash collection agents. NoMAP views the pilot as a workaround to address the challenges associated with Nigeria’s low mobile money uptake which makes it difficult for unbanked customers to pay for
solar unlike their peers in East Africa.”
According to Eyinade, NoMAP would collect and report evidence
improvement in sales, churn, default rate, customer experience and
energy access to the unserved.
“It is hoped that these five companies that we have partnered on the
integration will be able to expand into new off-grid communities since
collection risk will be addressed by this integration,” he added.
Commenting on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer, Swifta, Mr.
Ayo Farinu, said: We’re delighted to have completed this partnership
which is aimed at solving a major challenge in the solar space with
respect to users in unbanked rural communities.
“We’ve been able to do some transactions, test the systems end-to-end
to see the workability and we’re glad that we have made a lot of
progress. But we can do better; we’re currently working and preparing
for a full-blown rollout. A lot of measures have been put in place;
we’re doing some marketing activities to ensure that we create
awareness for consumers to easily identify our agents across the
regions of the country.”