The Challenge: Lack of access to energy affects all aspects of life, from education and employment to basic healthcare. The World Energy Organisation states that an estimated 1.2 billion people – 16% of the global population – do not have access to electricity.
Did you know that an average person in East Africa takes 8 years to consume as much electricity as an American consumes in one month? Lack of access to affordable energy is perpetuating global inequality, and according to the World Economic Forum, energy poverty is one of the key barriers to development in Africa.
The Solution: Cellulike offers an innovative ‘pay-as-you-go’ system for solar light rental that will help off-grid communities gain access to electricity. Many people in rural, off-the-grid communities in Africa currently use kerosene lamps and candles which are not renewable and which cause respiratory health issues. They do not have access to the grid nor do they have smart phones with mobile payment for electric utilities like many people in urban areas. Cellulike provides a way for people in rural areas to access and pay for unlimited solar electricity on a daily, weekly or monthly basis through USSD, a technology they can use on cheap mobile phones, no internet required. USSD is a familiar technology in these communities.
Richard Awuor is the founder and CEO of Cellulike. He chose to leave a promising corporate career after a power outage at the airport in Tanzania prevented him from taking a business trip. He wondered how the rest of the country could cope if even the airport did not have power, and he decided to find a solution to the country’s power issues. Awuor has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, a certificate in logistics and supply chain, and more than a dozen years of professional and management experience in telecommunications, logistics, customer service and sales across a range of industries. He lives in Dar Es Salaam.
“Solar technology provides one of the best interventions to bridge the energy poverty gap.” - R. Awuor