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UK firm seeks to connect 20 mln people in Nigeria to solar power

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A United Kingdom (UK) company aims to provide off-grid solar power to 20 million people in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, where less than half of the population have access to electricity.

London-based Bboxx plans to install its pay-as-you-go solar systems in millions of homes over 10 years, according to a statement emailed on Wednesday. About 47 percent of Nigerians don’t have access to grid electricity and those that do experience frequent blackouts. according to the World Bank.

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The cost of power shortages to Africa’s largest economy is estimated at around $28 billion, equivalent to 2 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the lender.

Bboxx is launching its operations in southwest Nigeria and will serve communities in rural areas that are most deprived of reliable power, the statement said. “The off-grid clean energy market in Nigeria has significant untapped potential,” the company’s chief executive, Mansoor Hamayun, said. The start-up is already active in other African countries including Togo, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Commodities giant Trafigura Group acquired a minority stake in Bboxx in February. Mitsubishi and Electricite de France SA have also invested in the company. (Bloomberg)

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