Africa’s new breed of solar energy entrepreneurs

Henri Nyakarundi is employing a similar model in Rwanda. His company has developed a mobile solar charging kiosk.

The kiosks are operated under a franchise model, offering Rwandans the chance to run income-generating businesses by providing services such as charging of electronics and sales of electronic vouchers.

Wi-fi hotspots will be available from the kiosks soon – there are already 24 up and running with another 100 due this year.

Mr Nyakarundi says he plans to offer a single distribution channel for different products, services and content, while providing opportunities for entrepreneurship through a low-cost franchise model.

He believes the opportunities to create solar businesses in Africa are “huge”, but as yet, they only exist at the micro level. The next step, he believes, is to move to the macro level – producing power for the grid through solar.

“However macro level requires large investment, and unfortunately local banks are still not willing to finance such projects unless you are a big company,” Mr Nyakarundi says.