Mastercard, Centenary Bank and M-KOPA Solar launch pay-as-you-go solar in Uganda
Mastercard has partnered with M-KOPA Solar and Centenary Bank to introduce pay-as-you-go solar to Uganda.
The project saw its first pay-as-you-go QR transaction this week, marking the official launch of the initiative.
The program aims to raise Uganda’s electrificiation rate, which is currently one of the lowest on the continent, recorded at 22% in 2017.
“Access to basic necessities like electricity can unlock a better future for consumers on an individual basis and also help spur economic growth and empowerment for the country as a whole,” commented Raghav Prasad, Division President of Sub Saharan Africa at Mastercard.
“The Mastercard QR technology helps provide new levels of payment flexibility and affordability and will have a real impact on the daily lives of thousands of consumers in Uganda.”
“Digital technology is the ideal vehicle for promoting greater energy inclusion as it reduces the cost of delivery, increases efficiency and productivity thus opening up access to benefits and experiences that were previously unthinkable.”
M-KOPA offer products such as lighting, mobile phone charging, radios, smart phones, TVs, and fridges.
“M-KOPA has proven that our flexible financing model, underpinned by IoT systems and telemetry, is a scalable and efficient way for millions of people to acquire life-changing services and products,” remarked Nick Hughes, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at M-KOPA Solar.
“For example, 94% of our customers report an improvement in their children’s ability to do homework after taking our basic lighting product.”
“M-KOPA’s partnerships – including integration with the Mastercard QR payment platform – are opening up even more productive asset-financing services and infrastructure.”
“This tripartite partnership shall go a long way in enhancing our bank’s efforts geared towards promoting the use of clean and safe energy by our customers in the various communities we serve,” added Fabian Kasi Managing Director at Centenary Bank.
“The mode of payment is an affordable solution for our customers, many of whom live in rural areas with little or no access to electricity and other necessities including structured financing which this campaign addresses.”
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.