Rwandan, Henri Nyakarundi has created a solar powered mobile kiosk that charges mobile phones, and is creating employment
opportunities in Rwanda.
The Computer Science graduate relocated from the US to go back home in Rwanda with the product that has received numerous energy awards and grants to serve the 70 percent of the Rwandese population with a mobile phone since only 18 percent of the of the population in the
East African country have access to electricity.
Henri’s company- African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) leases the kiosks to agents who in turn make money by charging a fee for mobile charging and selling add-ons such as mobile credit, government certificates and prepaid electricity.
“I was looking to do something that would not only solve a problem but also had a social impact by creating micro businesses for people.” Said Nyakarundi
The agents –mostly people lacking employment- give a 100 dollars down payment followed by a 200 dollars paid in small instalments. According to the company, the vendors make between 38 –
107 dollars a month, enough to pay rent and feed a family. The company gives the cart for free to women and those with disabilities.
Agents are required to be 25 years of age and have two letters of recommendation from their community leaders.
“When we offer a free opportunity, it becomes very important to have strong monitoring and evaluation. If they make money, we make money. So we want to make sure that people are not performing get replaced immediately.” He said
With 25 kiosks currently operating in the country, Nyakarundi hopes to scale up to 600 to 800 kiosks in the next two years.
The company has developed a “smart kiosk” that will offer wifi, local intranet and data collection from its users “A lot of people don’t utilize their smart phone
because they can’t afford internet. Why not build our own intranet — our own network of content on the kiosk to serve our community?” Said Nyakarundi