US President Barack Obama talks to June Muli, M-Kopa’s head of customer care, during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi in July 2015. Photo: M-Kopa.
M-KOPA Receives Financial Backing from Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation
Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese-based conglomerate with its head office in Chlyoda-ku, Tokyo, has invested in M-KOPA Holdings Limited, the ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar and finance platform.
Through this investment, Sumitomo aims to launch a new business related to distributed power sources and contribute to improving the living standards of people inhabiting non-electrified areas. An estimated 1.1 billion people live in non-electrified areas around the world, with over 600 million in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“M-KOPA empowers homes and small businesses. It has pioneered and built an advanced pay-as-you-go platform – unlocking solar, information, technology, finance and opportunity for millions of people,” said the firm in a statement attributed to its Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, Masayuki Hyodo.
Sumitomo Corporation will help M-KOPA achieve further growth by capitalising on its expertise in the construction and operation of power generation plants, while also utilising the findings and knowhow gained in various other business domains, thereby contributing to the delivery of sustainable clean energy to more people to upgrade their lives.
“The lack of electricity hinders the development of local industry, education and the information economy. Millions of homes are stuck in a rental economy, paying for services or small portions of expensive perishable items,” added the statement from the firm.
The exact deal details have not been mentioned, but it is expected that Sumitomo will take a corporate minority in M-KOPA.
The move is part of the firm’s business strategy to pursue business growth that contributes to “Achieving Harmony with the Global Environment”, “Contributing to the Development of Local Communities and Industries”, “Establishing a Foundation for Comfortable and Enriching Lifestyles”, and “Providing Diverse ‘Accessibility’ ”.
Sumitomo has presence in 9 African countries. Its Liaison Representative Office in Kenya is at Delta Tower, Westlands.