FEATURED: BBOXX secures loan to boost operations in Rwanda

Justus Mucyo, MD BBOXX Rwanda, believes that innovations in financing are capable of unlocking access to off-grid electricity.

The ever-growing need for connectivity to off-grid electricity in rural Rwanda has received a boost after BBOXX secured a US$ 8 million loan from the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI - OGEF) to facilitate the continued rapid growth and roll-out of solar systems across Rwanda, its largest market.

With substantial operations in Rwanda and 80,000 households electrified, the loan will accelerate and enhance BBOXX’s collaboration with the Government of Rwanda as it progresses towards meeting its 100% national electrification target of universal access by 2024. The loan will also facilitate BBOXX to expand its operations and deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy to many more individuals, communities, and small and medium enterprises.

Speaking about the deal, the Managing Director of BBOXX Rwanda, Justus Mucyo said “considering our countrywide presence, this is exciting for BBOXX Rwanda as it means more units for our next customers who will be able to get a system installed at their house. Also, our Pay as you go model that enables customers to make flexible payments and its success has allowed for a transaction of this magnitude to occur.”

The deal is the latest in a string of innovative local financing deals that BBOXX has led in recent years to facilitate the delivery of energy across Rwanda.

“This facility is one of the series of innovations in financing that need to happen to unlock access to off-grid electricity. It will accelerate our plan to serve other households who remain desperate for a solution today. We remain the only company in the industry that provides long term customer service and warranty and for that, we have a long list of prospective clients that will benefit from this facility,” Mucyo said.

Commenting about the loan, denominated in the Rwandan-franc, Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of BBOXX said “we are thrilled to have secured this loan from FEI OGEF to turbocharge our roll-out of solar home systems across Rwanda. It will help us to advance our goal of transforming lives and unlocking economic potential through access to energy.”

The Off-Grid Energy Access Funds are a $100 million blended finance facility that provides support mainly to companies active in off-grid energy. Harry Guinness, Lion’s Head Managing Director and OGEF Fund Manager, said: “BBOXX has invested in the team, products, and infrastructure needed to achieve scale. With this transaction, FEI OGEF provides efficient, sustainable and scalable capital to catalyze the next stage of BBOXX’s growth in Rwanda and beyond.”

This deal comes on the heels of another $31 million from Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) to ramp up its Rwanda operations alongside its roll-out in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The next phase of growth for BBOXX will be interesting, as Mucyo says, they’ll continue to deliver much-needed reliable and affordable electricity, as the entry point to all other modern utilities.

“BBOXX is a next-generation utility company, that has been servicing mainly electricity customers in Rwanda since 2014 but this year we will be introducing our technology and unique business model to address clean cooking which remains not only a concern of rural customers but as well as the urban customer,” he said.