June 2013, Kitale, Kenya: Azuri’s first customers in Kenya have now completed their pay-as-you-go scratchcard payment process and have unlocked their Indigo Duo systems forever. Indigo allows consumers in rural Africa to enjoy the benefits of solar power while paying for their systems as they use them. After a defined period, when a user has topped up their systems a sufficient number of times, they receive a special card that provides “everlasting credit”, effectively unlocking the devices.
The unlocking of the first customers marks a milestone in Azuri’s pay-as-you-go approach to making solar power affordable and available for off-grid rural families and is a key proof point on the sustainability of the pay-as-you-go model.
This group of ‘Indigo Pioneers’ were presented with certificates of recognition at a ceremony in Kenya and were keen to share their experiences. John said, “I always want to be the first one, a leader, and I am proud to be an Indigo Pioneer. I invite my neighbours to my home and I am proud.” Anne added, “Now I have unlocked I am the envy of my neighbours – they cannot wait until it is their turn.”
Indigo benefits not just the end users but also the many individuals that comprise Azuri’s partner organisations in country. This contribution to the local economy through direct and indirect job creation is a key part of Azuri’s sustainable business model. Youth unemployment remains a barrier to the Africa’s development with over 40% of the population under the age of 14. Florence, an Indigo user in Uganda recently commented “now I have solar power, I want to bring this to other people, I want to make a business out of Indigo.”
In Kenya, Azuri’s partner has grown their business from an initial one person to now some 50 sub-dealers, installers, and scratchcard sellers. These individuals provide an ongoing service to customers as they earn their way to progressive product ownership over the long term through Azuri’s Energy Escalator model, providing not just light but also devices to enable access to the knowledge economy. Edward Namasaka, Azuri’s first distributor in Kenya, will be joining the Azuri team for the Ashden Awards Ceremony next week in London for which Azuri is a finalist.
Azuri’s CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “The Indigo pay as you go approach to solar power makes modern energy affordable to rural off-grid users in Africa. We are delighted to welcome our first Indigo Pioneers as they take ownership of their solar home systems and to see the impact Indigo has not just on householders but also the many people who contribute to the success of Indigo via our partner organisation in country.”