Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: MTN Launches Portable Renewable Energy System in Rwanda

MTN Rwanda, the country's leading mobile network operator, has on this Tuesday launched a portable solar energy system called the 'Comeka ReadySet', that is designed to have a significant impact on the lives of Rwandans living off-grid or without regular access to electricity.

Distributed by MTN Rwanda, the Comeka ReadySet -- which is a multifunctional energy system that can charge mobile phones as well as power lights, radios, tablets, and other devices -- also provides Rwanda's enterprises and small medium businesses an opportunity to earn additional revenues from a phone charging business.

The Comeka ReadySet is already available in MTN Service Centers and dealer shops at Rwf 115,000. It is designed in the United States, California, by Fenix International. According to MTN Rwanda officials the system's battery draws its energy from a 15-Watt solar panel and offers a mains adapter for when the sun is not shining.

MTN Rwanda is the first telecom in the country to pilot a renewable energy system as a way to improve energy and telecommunications access for all Rwandans.

Robert Rwakabogo, the Snr. Manager Marketing Operations at MTN Rwanda said, "In addition to charging phones off an environmentally-friendly and cheap source of power, the 'Comeka ReadySet' solution can also provide power for night lighting."

"This can help business owners keep their shops open for longer and generate extra earnings. We have already had a pilot phase and we have a positive response from end users and we are confident this system will serve our rural subscriber base effectively," Rwakabogo added.

While the Comeka ReadySet may prove an attractive backup energy solution for urban dwellers, the product is also targeted for business. The device can charge up to 10 phones a day or get up to 30 hours of lighting on full charge. MTN's research has shown that Rwanda's entrepreneurs can earn up to Rwf 30,000 per month or Rwf 360,000 per year in revenue.

The 'Comeka ReadySet' Solar Kit includes a solar panel, mains adapter, two universal mobile phone chargers and a 5 Watt LED Bulb. The device itself features 2 USB ports, 2 car lighter adapter ports, and a display to show energy levels and recharge status.

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