In an industry first, customers of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar company M-KOPA in Uganda will now be able to pay for their power using contactless QR code payments, simply by scanning a QR code from a mobile app.
The first such transaction was made this week, with the rollout designed to provide a simple and inexpensive way of powering Ugandan homes and businesses. M-KOPA Solar already provides power to three million people in East Africa, and is hoping its partnership with Mastercard's QR payment technology will extend the reach of its PAYG solar programme.
Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa at 22%, with PAYG solar technology offering users affordable access to products such as lights, 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. For example, 94 per cent of our customers report an improvement in their children's ability to do homework after taking our basic lighting product," said Nick Hughes, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at M-KOPA Solar.
"M-KOPA's partnerships - including integration with the Mastercard QR payment platform - are opening up even more productive asset-financing services and infrastructure."
Raghav Prasad, division president of Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard, said access to basic necessities like electricity could unlock a better future for consumers on an individual basis and also help spur economic growth and empowerment for Uganda as a whole.
"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," he said.