English off-grid solar company Bboxx said it secured a Kenyan shilling-denominated loan to finance enough solar products to benefit 470,000 people in the East African state over the next two years.

The London-based company, which bills itself as a “next generation utility”, said the fact that the KES 1.6 billion (€12.3 million) loan is denominated in local currency will encourage other commercial lenders in Africa to finance solar projects.

Announcing the financial package today, Bboxx said the money would pay for equipment, including 89,600 solar home systems as well as appliances such as solar-powered phones and fridges, with all equipment intended in Kenya and about 80% of the 470,000 people expected to benefit from living in rural areas. The company added that the funding will also lead to the creation of 100 new long-term jobs in the country.

The loan was guaranteed by Mauritian-owned SBM Bank Kenya, and three-quarters of the sum was guaranteed by London-based financial services entity GuarantCo. The latter body is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and Sweden, through the Private Infrastructure Development Group trust; and by the Netherlands through its international development bank, the FMO (Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden). French public funds provide a reserve facility, if needed, to support GuarantCo, and the government ministry Global Affairs Canada funded the organization with a loan.

Quoted in a press release published this morning by Bboxx to announce the loan, the managing director Mansoor Hamayun said, “We are very pleased to partner with GuarantCo and SBM Bank to accelerate access to clean, reliable and affordable energy for hundreds of thousands of Kenyans. This fund marks an important milestone in the history of our industry. This transaction shows what can be achieved by forging partnerships between different stakeholders to mobilize private capital in the energy sector.

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