First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Azuri Technologies Limited have entered into a partnership that will enable customers to access solar energy services and help deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Under the partnership, Azuri’s solar home TV product will be co-branded and co-marketed by both companies and customers will be able to pay for their solar via First Bank’s Firstmonie agent network and mobile payment solution. Firstmonie agents are positioned within rural and semi-urban locations across the country and provide basic financial services such as account opening, cash deposit, cash withdrawals and bill payments.
Speaking on the partnership, Simon Bransfield-Garth, Azuri CEO said: “This partnership combines the reach of First Bank with Azuri’s technology and pay-as-you-go solar expertise to bring next-generation power to off-grid consumers in Nigeria.” He decried the low rate of electrification in Nigeria, which he said limits local development and modernization, thus forcing people to rely on expensive, harmful fuels and alternatives.
Bransfield-Garth said the partnership of Azuri Technologies with First Bank would extend the reach of solar power and make it easier for rural consumers to access and pay for the services, stressing that solar power provides a more reliable, affordable and cleaner energy.
According to him, more than 100 million Nigerians do not have access to electricity, noting that Azuri has delivered more than 20,000 solar home lighting systems to Nigerian homes in the last 18 months, with the backing of the Nigerian government.
Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank said in a statement, “Financial inclusion is a priority with FirstBank and we are excited that with this partnership, our customers are able to access a wide range of services that address real problems such as access to power. With our over 16,000 Firstmonie Agents spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria, our customers are at an advantage in enjoying seamless financial services from the Bank that puts them first.”
He noted that “Pay-as-you-go solar is transforming lives by providing energy for lighting, phones and TVs while helping to boost local economies with new employment opportunities and connecting off-grid households to financial and digital services that are helping improve productivity and increase income.”