Bboxx and Government of Togo sign first ever MoU to sell smartphones

Bboxx and Government of Togo sign first ever MoU to sell smartphones
  • MoU supports Government initiative to drive greater financial inclusion and delivery of digital services to the public
  • Bboxx is the ‘ideal partner’ and demonstrates the value of public-private partnership to improve last mile connectivity
  • Rollout expected in 2022 as part of “Togo Smartphone” initiative

Monday 27th September 2021 – Bboxx, a next generation utility, and the Government of Togo, represented by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, are pleased to announce the first ever Memorandum of Understanding (‘MoU’) to sell smartphones in Togo on “Pay-As-You-Go” basis.

Signed in the Togolese capital, Lomé, between Honourable Minister Cina Lawson and Bboxx Managing Director of the Capital Division, Laurent Van Houcke, the MoU will improve digital inclusion and the delivery of digital public services through deployment of smartphones in Togo.

The programme will follow three phases with the rollout of handsets expected in 2022, as part of the “Togo Smartphone” initiative.

Phase 1 will focus on delivering sophisticated market research, capturing important insights regarding customer preferences and requirements, including data plans and hardware. Phase 2 will see smartphones made available, on salary deduction or “Pay-As-You-Go” basis, to civil servants and public sector workers to incentivise the transition to digital public service delivery. Phase 3 will see smartphones made available to the Togolese public via affordable financing options like “Pay-As-You-Go”.

The MoU follows the Government of Togo’s prioritisation of making the digital economy a lever to accelerate development of priority sectors. Under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, the country has more than doubled mobile broadband access over the last five years, introduced competition into the telecommunications sector and attracted significant private investment. A new Strategy ‘Togo Digital 2025’ is currently being implemented to drive these ambitions further.

Today’s announcement also complements the Government of Togo’s emphasis on digital public service delivery, including the Novissi digital cash transfer program which has received global acclaim. Novissi’s success is enabled by the rapid take up of mobile services in Togo, which has more than tripled in recent years, alongside an exponential growth in internet penetration[1].

The MoU also continues Bboxx’s track record in Togo since first entering the market in 2017. In 2018, Bboxx and EDF entered a partnership, a joint venture, with EDF holding a 50% stake in Bboxx’s Togo operations, operating under the brand “Bboxx avec EDF” in Togo. To date in Togo, Bboxx EDF has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people through provision of access to solar energy, through a partnership with the Government of Togo under the flagship ‘CIZO’ Initiative. “Bboxx avec EDF” solar home systems are provided on a Pay-As-You-Go basis using mobile money, and supported through an innovative digital subsidy, the ‘CIZO Cheque’.

Honourable Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, Cina Lawson commented: “Increasing adoption of high-quality smartphones is paramount for reaching the goals we have set for Togolese financial inclusion and delivery of digital services to the public. We also believe they have an important role to play in increasing the productivity of our public sector workers, who have delivered so much even through the recent trials of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bboxx is the ideal partner and with their support we look forward to making smartphones more affordable and available all over our country.”

Bboxx CEO, Mansoor Hamayun commented: “We are delighted to see a deepening of our partnership with the Togolese Government to make smartphones available to the country by leveraging our brand, unique distribution network and growing customer base of over 55,000 households. This landmark MOU signals our commitment to transform lives and unlock potential and we are excited to leverage our scalable technology and decentralised network to help the Togolese Government accelerate access to the digital economy.”

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About Bboxx

Bboxx is a next generation utility, transforming lives and unlocking potential through access to energy. Bboxx manufactures, distributes and finances decentralised solar powered systems in developing countries. It is scaling through forging strategic partnerships and its innovative technology Bboxx Pulse®, a comprehensive management platform using IoT technology. Through affordable, reliable, and clean utility provision, Bboxx is bringing people into the digital economy, creating new markets, and enabling economic development in off-grid communities and those living without a reliable grid connection. The company is positively impacting the lives of 2 million people with its products and services in over 27 markets, directly contributing to 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

So far, Bboxx has deployed more than 500,000 solar home systems. Bboxx has over 1,000 staff across nine offices including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Togo, with its head office in the UK and its manufacturing operations in China. In 2019, Bboxx was the winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Energy category – testament to the way the company is making a meaningful difference to people’s lives around the world. You can find further information about Bboxx on its website at – https://www.bboxx.com/

About the Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation defines and coordinates the implementation of state policy in the areas of Posts and the digital economy. It deals with issues relating to the development and promotion of postal activities. It coordinates, supervises and regulates the activities of the postal sector and ensures its harmonious and optimal development, all over the country. The Ministry also manages the activities of the State relating to the development of the digital economy. As such, it works to promote and disseminate information and communication technologies (ICT) for the emergence of the digital economy sector.

The Ministry takes the lead in developing policies and programs which delivering on the Government of Togo’s aims to make the digital economy a lever to accelerate the development of priority business sectors and modernize government administration. This vision is complemented by a statement of the digital economy sector (2018-2022) which aims for Togo to become a digital service hub and an international center for innovation and expertise.

[1] World Bank ‘Togo Digital Economy Diagnostic Report’, 2020