Wednesday 30th August 2023
Look outside your window. Will today’s weather forecast affect your credit score?
I didn’t think so. At least, not for now.
Whether or not the sun shines today, the wind blows, or the heavens open – should that affect your ability to borrow money or pay it back? Your ability to access entirely essential services like electricity? Water? Your mobile phone?
Other than our own personal comfort, most of us don’t have our earnings impacted by weather.
But, imagine living in a situation where things are completely out of control. And where your daily bread depends on a favourable weather forecast. It’s a human condition that we in the West have forgotten, but one which is still a pressing issue in so many places — not least in sub-Saharan Africa.
Through Bboxx’s data-driven super platform we are collecting in excess of 10 million data points daily, giving us extraordinary power to predict consumer patterns. This data has given us the ability to develop our own proprietary credit scoring algorithm. With second-by-second insights, we know for the first time how far an incoming weather event or storm is going to affect a customer, or a town or village’s ability to pay.
And the biggest lesson that we have learned from financing over a million customers in sub-Saharan Africa is this: the single greatest external factor in whether a customer defaults is the weather.
We are often told that climate change impacts the poorest first – and here is proof. As climate change dramatically changes weather patterns – longer, more frequent droughts interspersed with more intense storms and more flooding – the ability of families and communities not only to feed themselves but to finance their own futures is significantly and demonstrably impaired.
Could you imagine if the weather had caused this level of economic uncertainty in Western populations? If this summer’s European heatwave had caused the collapse of the European Central Bank?
It seems absurd to me that – in 2023 – there is a significant proportion of the world’s population that is still completely dependent on the weather for their income and their financial stability.
The effect of climate change is most keenly felt within the agricultural economy. Food security is under threat for the populations who most depend on their local habitat for their existence. These are some of the poorest people on the planet.
The uncomfortable truth is that poorer people tend to be farmers, and farms are dependent on favourable weather. And, at the same time, these very same populations are subject to the highest birth rates and population growth.
With Bboxx’s insights, we have the ability – and, indeed, the responsibility – to find ways to serve these previously overlooked communities, and to use our understanding to create new mitigation tools to reduce the damage caused by a changing environment.
Data-driven weather insurance, agricultural insurance and other instruments can transfer risk away from vulnerable farmers to insurers, governments and financial institutions while ensuring affordable premiums.
Water pumps powered by Bboxx’s solar panels enable greater access to irrigation and can secure against fluctuations in rainfall.
And digital tools for education can lead to better understanding of how to grow crops in a rapidly changing climate.
It may feel like a far-away problem now, but given the acceleration of atmospheric warming and its effects on the climate, the weather will soon become a problem for us all –meteorologically, socially, and economically.
If you are sitting in the developed world, with our current trajectory, do not think for one moment that you are insulated from a future day when the weather affects your livelihood and your ability to borrow and pay.
Mansoor Hamayun, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bboxx.
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Bboxx is a data-driven super platform, transforming lives and unlocking potential by connecting consumers and deploying innovative products across Africa.
Bboxx is championing the economic empowerment of Africa, accelerating the transition to the digital economy and creating new markets. We have built Bboxx Pulse®, a fully integrated operating system, and combined it with an extensive on-the-ground network to connect customers with clean energy, clean cooking, smartphones, e-mobility and selected financial products – many for the first time.
We are connecting both underserved rural communities and aspiring urban ones with a highly convenient and affordable way to access life-changing solutions, through last mile logistics and data-powered innovative financing methods. We offer our services on a pay-as-you-go basis to households, businesses, and communities, enabling African consumers to unlock their potential.
We build strategic partnerships with investors, utilities providers, global companies, and governments to accelerate growth and provide a wide range of products to consumers in Africa. Our partners are seizing a massive market opportunity by plugging into Bboxx – developed through green tech and big data and designed for scale.
Following the successful acquisition of solar energy frontrunner PEG Africa in 2022, Bboxx is now positively impacting the lives of more than 3.5 million people in 10 operating markets, directly contributing to 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Bboxx and its group of companies is one of the largest networks in Africa, with over 4,000 staff across Africa and offices in the UK and Asia.
For more information please contact:
Bboxx / Impact and Influence
+44 7527 695154