EDF expands in Africa with Togo investment
The French energy company, EDF, has announced its partnership with the UK-based utility firm, BBOXX.
The firms have launched operations in Togo, working on an off-grid electricity project. The companies target a 35% market share in the nation by 2024.
Under the agreement, EDF owns a 50% stake in the BBOXX Togo project, which aims to supply reliable, affordable, and CO2-free solar power to the country’s government’s electrification programme, dubbed CIZO.
BBOXX has been operational in Togo since 2017, having provided 26,000 people in the nation with electricity already.
“Our latest deal with EDF symbolises the first stepping stone in a strong strategic partnership,” stated Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of BBOXX.
“It will see us work together to bring smart and sustainable energy solutions and other vital utilities and value-added services to the underserved.”
“Working with global partners like EDF shows our commitment to scaling up, mobilising greater investment, generating meaningful impact and powering the economic development of some of the world’s least developed communities.”
EDF has been targeting battery performance as part of its Electricity Storage Plan – a strategy that aims to develop 10GW of storage capacity by 2035.
“By teaming up with BBOXX in Togo, the EDF Group has embarked on a new stage of development of its off-grid activities in Africa, which has been constantly speeded up since our Ivory Coast subsidiary, Zeci, was set up less than two years ago,” added Valerie Levkov, Senior Vice President of Africa and the Middle East at EDF.
“We are proud to work with a partner like BBOXX, which shares our commitment to low carbon energies. The partnership that has just been set up fits in with the EDF strategy CAP 2030, whose main purpose is to triple our activities outside Europe”.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.