Symbiotics, the leading market access platform for impact investing, granted Baobab+ EUR 5 million loan to strengthen its presence in 6 African countries to expand electrifications at a larger scale. The funding from Symbiotics comes 9 months after Norfund’s investment of EUR 10 million in equity in Baobab+, and will allow the company to achieve the goal of equipping one million households with solar and digital products within 5 years.
Solar energy represents an exceptional opportunity for rural households that do not have access to electricity. Already active in Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo, Baobab+ has equipped 250,000 households and served more than 1,500,000 beneficiaries in the past 6 years with a “Pay-As-You-Go” (PAYG) model that breaks down the cost barrier. Customers are allowed to make daily, weekly, or monthly payments according to their cash flow in order to activate and ultimately gain ownership of their device.
For Baobab+, access to energy is a springboard to enable every African household to take part in the digital revolution. In Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Madagascar, Baobab+ has been a pioneer in launching PAYG smartphone services and has also, to date, equipped more than 110,000 households with digital solutions. Baobab+ provides content that meets its customers’ needs, such as e-education, or the management of small business activities.
In partnership with its parent company: the Baobab Microfinance Group, a major player in access to financial inclusion in Africa, Baobab+ has developed a unique scoring framework that allows its PAYG clients to become eligible for micro-loans, using their repayment history from the solar or digital product to assess clients creditworthiness. This proprietary solution, initially introduced in Senegal, will be gradually deployed in all countries.
“Baobab+ is reaching a new stage of its development, the support from Symbiotics will allow us to strengthen our presence, particularly in Nigeria and DR Congo, where we have recently launched operations. It’s really great for us to have an impact investor like Symbiotics by our side, to support us in our growth!”, said Alexandre Coster, Baobab+ Co-founder and CEO.
“We are happy of this partnership and to support the rapid growth of Baobab+ across Africa. We believe Baobab+ fosters a strong environmental and social impact through its energy access offering, which provides households and micro-entrepreneurs based in rural off-grid areas access to clean and safe energy.”, stated Vincent Lehner, Symbiotics Head of Markets Division.
Symbiotics is the leading market access platform for impact investing, dedicated to private markets in emerging and frontier economies. The group offers investment, asset management and capacity building services. Since 2005, we have originated over 6,600 investments representing more than USD 6.9 billion for 524 companies in 93 countries. We manage an aggregate portfolio of USD 2.9 billion spread across 25 funds and mandates. Our portfolio companies have also benefited from over 140 technical assistance projects worth more than USD 18 million. symbioticsgroup.com
Launched in 2015 and operating in six African countries, Baobab+ is a social enterprise that supports households and micro-entrepreneurs in their energy autonomy through the distribution of solar kits, with 250,000 households already equipped (1.5 million beneficiaries), particularly in rural areas. In addition to this primary vocation, the Baobab Group’s subsidiary offers digital devices for educational and professional purposes, with more than 110,000 households (400,000 beneficiaries) already equipped. These products benefit from financing facilities to make them accessible to all. baobabplus.com baobabgroup.com
For more information, contact:
Samy Derradji, Corporate Communication Manager, Symbiotics
Laurie Maitenaz, Communication Manager, Baobab+