In a report issued to coincide with the UK-Africa Investment Summit on 20 January, Kleos Advisory estimates that the commercial opportunity for off-grid solar power in Africa is $24bn per year.

The UK is one of the leading players in the African off-grid sector, combining solar and mobile phone technology in order to provide affordable power for the 600 million people that still lack access to grid electricity. According to the report, some five million of these pay-as-you-go solar home systems have been sold in the last four years and this figure is accelerating with over one million such systems sold in the first six months of 2019.

UK-based solar tech firm Azuri Technologies, will join prime minister, Boris Johnson and senior British business figures at the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit in London to highlight the opportunities for partnership between the UK and African nations. 

With eight of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world now based in Africa, the summit aims to harness the potential of the continent and strengthen ties with UK business. 

Energy is one of the key requirements for African countries where fewer than one in two people are connected to the grid. Azuri technologies is a provider of off-grid solar power that enables households to access modern digital technologies such as TV and the Internet without the need for a grid connection. 

The report entitled ‘The grid won’t connect Africa, but solar can’ states: “Given the ability of solar-fintech solutions to deliver power to African households along with the affordable financing to pay for it, solar could be the breakthrough technology that finally connects Africa’s vast off-grid communities.

“The combination of solar and fintech is driving an economic transformation in Africa, making the ‘unbankable’ bankable and embedding African consumers in the digital economy.”

Azuri has coupled off-grid solar with energy-efficient smart TVs, rechargeable radios, satellite entertainment, internet access and a range of other appliances and services to bring modern digital technology to off-grid households. Through its network of African partners and distributors, Azuri currently employs more than 5,000 people across Africa, but the company is poised for further expansion across sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.