British utility Bboxx and the French cotton company Geocoton Advens have formed a joint venture to develop off-grid solar schemes in Burkina Faso.
The aim is to bring electricity to some 2 million people in the West African country, followed by an expansion to other countries in the region. At present, Burkina Faso has an electrification rate of 18%, although this is only 5% for the rural population.
Mansoor Hamayun, chief executive of Bboxx, commented: "While energy access rates in Burkina Faso are very low, the potential to positively impact people’s lives for the better through clean energy is immense. This market entry is the first of many, and we’ve got an exciting pipeline of activity ahead of us on our mission to transform lives through access to energy."
The scheme is expected to employ more than 500 people, spurring economic development in a country where 43% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day.Â Â
The plan would use Bboxx’s pay-as-you-go solar system and the local knowledge of Geocoton, which has a network of 350,000 cotton farmers whose product it buys. The London-based company also plans to introduce solar water pumps for irrigation, as well as clean cooking using liquefied petroleum gas.
Karim Ait Talb, the chief operating officer of Geocoton Advens added that the scheme "aligns with our desire to improve the living conditions of village cotton producers".
He said Bboxx’s record of expanding access to clean energy in Africa has been impressive. Â
Image: Cotton farmers in Burkina Faso (Bboxx)