Canadian start-up raises $1.7m to install solar energy in rural Tanzania
London, March 18, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Canadian start-up, Jaza has secured $1.7 million to provide access to electricity for households in rural Tanzania.
The funds were raised through a crowdfunding exercise involving the Shell Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK), Ceniarth, the EEP Africa multi-donor trust fund and Active Impact Investments.
Several individuals also participated in Jaza’s fundraising.
In the East African country, the young company provides battery recharging services in remote areas. In villages, Jaza is building battery charging points managed by women.
These kiosks are powered by solar-powered mini-grids, which allow the batteries to be recharged. Electricity storage devices are rented by households. In these families, they make it possible to supply a small electrical network that can support a few small devices such as radios or mobile phone chargers.
“It has been very interesting to see directly how our customers have responded to the energy services we provide. Our solution costs our customers half of what they previously spent on kerosene for lighting,” says Radhina Kipozi, Jaza’s marketing director.
Currently, the company has 70 battery recharging points installed in rural areas of Pemba and Mtwara regions. These solar energy production and distribution facilities supply 23,000 people and employ 140 women.
With the $1.7 million obtained from several investors, Jaza plans to also build battery recharging points in the Kigoma region of north-western Tanzania. These new charging points will create 200 additional jobs in rural areas.
Jaza’s social, economic and environmental model convinced Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI); a European Union investment fund has decided to inject USD 1.5 million into the project.