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Press release: Solar energy as an entry point to loans and savings in rural Mali.

In Mali, 26% * of the population has access to electricity, leaving 11 million people off the grid, mostly in rural areas. In contrast, mobile networks are a predominant infrastructure, providing coverage for 90% of the population. Mali’s dynamic telecom sector can help tackle the energy access gap and financial inclusion for farmers in rural areas. Only 35% ** of Malian population has access to financial inclusion, dropping to 15% in rural areas.

Baobab+ Mali is going to launch a solar Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) offer, in Mali at the beginning of November. Thanks to the support of Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity on this project, Baobab+ Mali aims to improve the lives of 300,000 beneficiaries over a 3 years period.

Baobab+ has built an exclusive partnership with an Solar Home System (SHS) provider in order to distribute a scalable SHS that our clients will be able to upgrade over time with other devices such as a TV, a fan or a small fridge for example. PAYG technology allows remote control access to the product. The client makes daily or weekly payments according to his or her cash flow in order to activate their product and progress towards ownership. Clients can either pay in cash points, or through mobile payments.

Baobab Group is developing a specific scoring analysis to offer financial inclusion to PAYG SHS clients in Mali. Once clients gain complete ownership of their products, they will become eligible for a digital loan from Microcred Mali . Farmers can use it to upgrade their existing product or acquire another Baobab+ life-changing product, such as a smartphone with tailored content selected to help farmers improve their productivity and revenue (weather data, market trends related to the retail price of their products, potential buyers, or where to source their seeds). They may also use it to develop their business (eg. livestock).

In that way, Baobab+ clients’ regular payments of their SHS towards full ownership gives them credibility as responsible customers and low-risk borrowers, allowing them to build their financial portfolio. This in turn unlocks credit in order for them to invest in their businesses and improve their livelihood and that of their communities.

About Baobab+ Mali

Baobab+ is a social business committed to providing access to energy and digital. Baobab+ offers innovative, non-financial products to improve and transform the daily lives of African people and support their sustainable economic development. Baobab+ Mali launched in 2018, after 2 years of operating under Microcred Mali. www.baobabplus.com 

About Microcred Mali

Microcred Mali is a subsidiary of Baobab Group, a leader in digital financial inclusion in Africa and China. Microcred Mali was launched in late 2013 and has since then reached 35,000 clients, 440 employees and 16 branches in 5 years. Baobab is a leading digital financial inclusion group focusing on serving individuals, micro and small businesses in Africa and China. To learn more : https://www.microcred.com/ml 

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

Baobab+ – www.baobabplus.com 

Laurie Maitenaz – Communications manager | laurie@baobabplus.com 

* The potential of mobile for rural energy access in Mali – GSMA, **The Global Findex database – The World Bank

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