oil and gas

UN in talks for 'pay-as-you-go' solar panels in Uganda to beat power crisis

August 5, 2022

Ensuring access to solar provides additional opportunities for businesses, says UN official

United Nations (UN) is working with a company to provide solar panels on a 'pay-as-you-go' system (PAYG) in Uganda, Dmitry Pozhidaev, head of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) office in Uganda, told UN News, its official news portal.

'Their customers' payments are tracked digitally, which means they can build up a credit score, making it easier for them to get loans from the formal banking system,' he added.

'This is very important in an economy where 90 percent of employment is in the informal sector,' Pozhidaev said, noting it is very difficult for someone to access the formal financial system without formal records.

Ensuring access to solar provides additional opportunities for businesses, particularly micro and small, especially in rural areas. He said that having access to electricity allows those businesses to extend their working hours because now they can work beyond daylight hours.

PAYG solar system provides household-scale solar energy with a payment scheme tailored to the budgets of bottom-of-the-pyramid customers, according to the United States Agency for International Development.

According to Pozhidaev, access to electricity is still a challenge in Uganda, with access to grid electricity not available in many places, particularly in rural areas.

Kampala and other bigger cities frequently face blackouts and interruptions in electricity supply, which has multiple implications on businesses, individuals and government institutions.

In northern Uganda, the UN is engaged in several areas, including supporting local governments and the public sector to find the financial solutions to various public projects in the area of climate change adaptation, local economic development, etc.

'We are also engaged with the private sector on digital finance and digital economy, to get smallholder farmers, and village savings and loans associations to integrate them with the formal banking system, and hence improve their access to finance,' the UN official said.

Pozhidaev revealed agriculture employs around 75 percent of Ugandans; therefore, it was essential to move agriculture to the next level in terms of productivity and competitiveness.

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