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The African fintech start-up Yellow, a supplier of pay-as-you-go off-grid solar solutions and appliances, says a $5-million loan from social impact investor Oikocredit enables it to serve a further 89 000 underserved households in sub-Saharan Africa.
Yellow, founded by tech entrepreneur Michael Heyink, has already served more than 350 000 customers in four different countries.
With Oikocredit’s support, Yellow will be able to give low-income people in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia both access to clean energy and a path to ownership of off-grid solar products that can be extended to fit users’ growing energy needs.
Heyink says access to renewable electricity will support households in improving their living standards, increasing their earning potential and achieving lives of greater dignity.
Last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency reported that Africa has vast resource potential in wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy while falling costs are increasingly bringing renewables within reach. It says Central and Southern Africa have abundant mineral resources essential to the production of electric batteries, wind turbines, and other low-carbon technologies.
Since its inception in 2018, Yellow has pioneered and provided solar energy solutions for low-income communities. It has sold more than 300 000 energy devices to date, helping improve the lives of more than 1.5 million people with clean energy access. Furthermore, Yellow has been providing meaningful economic opportunities for more than 1 200 people by employing them as agents.
To date, renewable energy generated by Yellow’s solar home systems has avoided approximately 442 671 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent by replacing kerosene lanterns and diesel generators.
Heyink says, “We are delighted to be partnering with Oikocredit on this transformational facility. This loan will enable us to access local currency funding in multiple jurisdictions, providing our business with greater scope to serve more customers and better.”
Siebren Wilschut, investment officer at Oikocredit, adds: “We’re very pleased to support Yellow, one of the fastest growing companies in the industry, in its expansion to provide greater access to energy across Africa. With this investment, we continue our commitment to achieving higher social impact in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in renewable energy. Our partnership with Yellow will enable the company to increase its social impact by helping low-income people become healthier, improve their livelihoods and be better connected.”