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Danish company to electrify Tanzania

By the Confederation of Danish Industry, November 09, 2016

For just USD 5 a month over three years, M-PAYG aims to provide solar cells and batteries to supply Tanzania’s electricity-less population with enough energy to meet their daily needs.

– Many of our customers do not have access to a bank account, but they gained access to mobile banking – M-Pesa they call it – 12 years before such a service was available in Denmark,”says David Reerman Dizon, one of the three founders of M-PAYG.

Only 6% of households in rural Tanzania have access to domestic electricity. Instead, they light their homes using lamp oil and charge their mobile telephones at the local market.

Now M-PAYG a Danish company, wants to offer them a solar cell solution to cover their need for lighting, charging telephones and running electrical appliances such as televisions, radios, hair trimmers and sewing machines.

We have looked at the needs of the population and their daily movements in an anthropological study and by using the human-centred design method we have adapted our offering to cover most people’s requirements. The solution costs USD 5 a month and when the money has been paid by mobile, we provide 30 days’ access to electricity. The unit is paid off over three years after which the electricity is free, explains David Reerman Dizon, one of the three founders of the company.

Monthly savings

The monthly cost of the USD 5 solution will also mean a saving for most Tanzanian families compared to their current budgets, explains David Reerman Dizon.

Our surveys show that the average household in our target group spends USD 3 a month on charging their mobile telephones and another USD 5 on gas for lighting. This means that our product will offer savings from Day 1 as well as give customers the opportunity to establish small businesses such as hair salons or sewing rooms, says David Reerman Dizon.

The most important thing to many Tanzanians is, however, the widespread use of mobile telephones. These are increasingly becoming smartphones that open up great opportunities.

One of the reasons for choosing Tanzania as our first country is that mobile telephones are so widely used there. Many of our customers do not have access to a bank account, but they gained access to a kind of mobile banking – M-Pesa they call it – 12 years before such a service was available in Denmark. We are working with M-Pesa and a handful of other telecommunications companies and we expect to be able to offer our customers a range of mobile solutions such as top-ups for their solar cell units, says David Reerman Dizon.

The prototype is ready

M-PAYG built the first solar cell unit prototype itself, but has since signed an agreement with Danish electronics company Attention Group which has helped them to ready the system for the market. Ahead lies a partnership with the American company Dragon Innovation, which will help to reduce the cost of the product even further before it goes into production in Asia.

We expect to sell 1,000 units in Tanzania in 2017. We aim for sales to grow to 1,000,000 units in the next five years. After that, we want to spread the solution – mainly to East Africa and India, says David Reerman Dizon.

He and Asger Trier Bing, his business partner, went full-time on the project at the beginning of 2016 because they wanted to ‘make a difference’.

I come from a consultancy position with Deloitte where I worked on new digital business models and smart cities, while Asger worked as CEO and founder of Scandinavia’s largest crowdfunding loan platform. But for us, the driver has been our desire to make a difference and to create a sustainable business, says David Reerman Dizon. 

Source: DI Business.dk 

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