Bboxx achieves local currency financing for solar home systems in Kenya

U.K.-based Bbox Ltd, which specializes in power supply solutions for off-grid regions in Africa, has secured a financing agreement in Kenya that is unusual for such projects. The Kenyan branch of Bbox and GuarantCo, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and SBM Bank have agreed to provide a total of 1.6 billion Kenyan shillings ($14 million), which Bbox can use to purchase new stock over the next two years – in particular solar home systems, but also consumer appliances such as refrigerators or telephones. In contrast to the usual practice with such loans, the transaction is hedged in local currency by SBM Bank, which operates in Kenya. Typically, this is done for comparable financing lines in foreign currencies such as US dollars or euros, which entails considerable risks due to exchange rate fluctuations. GuarantCo estimates that the financing is sufficient for around 89,000 solar home systems.

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