Digital Finance Plus

The Digital Finance Plus initiative has a simple mission: we aim to broaden access to essential services for the poor in energy, water, and education through the use of mobile and other digital payment systems. More people worldwide have access to a mobile phone than a bank account, particularly among the poorest. By linking digital finance to innovative provision of the most basic services, Digital Finance Plus transforms lives, and improves them for the better. It acts as a catalyst, innovator, and advocate for the growth of a robust ecosystem that supports mobile technology empowerment for the poor.


CGAP has established three Digital Finance Plus partnerships which allow us to further explore opportunities in this sector.

Angaza Design
This U.S and Kenya-based company broadens access to energy for off-grid customers through a technology platform that allows customers to pay-as-you-go (PAYG). By using mobile payment systems and mobile banking for solar and other modern sources of energy, Angaza Design helps customers overcome the outheavy up-front costs of solar energy. The partnership with CGAP aims to better understand how the combination of PAYG technology and digital payment impact costs to consumers and providers.

Off-Grid:Electric
This Tanzania-based company is a leading PAYG provider of solar energy to off-grid customers in Tanzania and Kenya. Under their model, customers sign up for a level of energy service by paying a small deposit, and then continue to pay for days of use only, with no fixed commitment to continue buying. The partnership with CGAP aims to better understand the advantages of service-based business models, as well as best practices in promoting sales and engaging service agents.

Mobisol
This Berlin-based company sells both larger solar home systems as well as the traditional micro-solar access to low-income, off-grid customers on a rent-to-own basis in Tanzania and Rwanda. Mobisol has hardware that enables remote monitoring and disconnect of solar assets, and a set of software tools to process payments and track customers. Light touch partnership with MNOs for mobile payments. The partnership with CGAP aims to better understand the rent-to-own model, as well as the consumer financing component.

Boniface from Musoma, Tanzania
Angaza Design: Boniface in Musoma, Tanzania holds her solar light.
 Stefano from Musoma, Tanzania
Angaza Design: Stefano in Musoma Tanzania shows off his solar light.
A man stands at booth.
Angaza Design: A shopkeeper demonstrates the SoLite3 in periurban Nairobi.
Shopkeeper in periurban Nairobi that sells the SoLite3
Angaza Design: A shopkeeper in periurban Nairobi sells the SoLite3.
 Wall painting at market intersection
Mobisol: In Heshima, Kenya, a wall painting at market intersection advertises Mobisol's solar home system.
At the Mobisol Akademie young entrepreneurs receive training as solar technicians.
Mobisol: At the Mobisol Akademie in Nyamata, Rwanda, young entrepreneurs receive training as solar technicians.
Nyarugenge, Rwanda: Mobisol customer with his newly acquired solar home system.
Mobisol: A Mobisol customer in Nyamata, Rwanda, poses with his newly acquired solar home system.
The Mobisol system's LEDs and lanterns provide clean and bright light for professionals to work during night hours.
Mobisol: The Mobisol system's LEDs and lanterns provide clean and bright light for professionals in Juru, Rwanda to work during night hours.
The MobiCharger charges up to 10 mobile phones or solar lanterns simultaneously.
Mobisol: The MobiCharger charges up to 10 mobile phones or solar lanterns simultaneously, demonstrated here in Maji ya Chai, Tanzania.
An Off-Grid: Electric customer in Lengijape, Tanzania
An Off-Grid:Electric customer in Lengijape, Tanzania.
An Off-Grid: Electric customer in Lengijape, Tanzania
An Off-Grid:Electric customer in Lengijape, Tanzania.
Off-Grid Electric Customers in Lengijape, Tanzania
An Off-Grid:Electric customer in Lengijape, Tanzania.
Off-Grid Electric Customers in Lengijape, Tanzania
Off-Grid:Electric customers in Lengijape, Tanzania.
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Recommended Reading:

Sustainable Energy and Water Access through M2M Connectivity (GSMA)
Smart Water Systems (DFID and Oxford University)
A Prepaid Architecture for Solar Electricity Delivery in Rural Areas (Bennu Solar)
Multiplying Agriculture by the Power of Mobile (World Economic Forum)
Connected Agriculture (Accenture)
Advancing the Dialogue on Mobile Finance and Mobile Health (mHealth Alliance)
How Financial Innovation Helps the Poor Improve their Lives (HuffingtonPost)

Other Resources:

Lighting Africa
Mobile Water for Development Research Group
Mobile Enabled Community Services (GSMA)
MercyCorpos Agri-Fin Mobile
mHealth Alliance

Topic Contact: Kabir Kumar 

Publications

12 August 2014
Globally, over 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, and another 1 billion people have unreliable connections to national electricity grids. Startup energy enterprises are leveraging digital finance to deliver modern energy to the poor, sold on a pay-as-you-go basis.
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English (1.76 MB)

From Our Blog

21 May 2015
Early evidence suggests that more people can get electricity with the help of financial innovation. There are two key ways financial innovation is expanding access to electricity around the world.
Countries: 
12 May 2015
Innovative businesses are leveraging Digital Finance Plus to link poor communities with essential services. The success of these businesses is driven by multiple market factors. We explore which factors matter most based on a framework CGAP developed with McKinsey.
Countries: