The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has signed a contract with UK-based off-grid solar provider BBOXX to roll out the firm’s technology across the country.

The deal is part of the DRC’s ‘Energie pour Tous’ initiative, which aims to support rural electrification through off-grid solar and mini-grids.

In a rollout planned to cover the entire country, the deal aims to bring reliable power to 2.5 million citizens by 2020 and will create around 10,000 jobs, BBOXX said. The solar systems will be distributed through BBOXX’s network as well as by Orange Energie, its distribution partner in Kinshasa.

BBOXX, which is the first firm to sign a contract under the Energie pour Tous scheme, lauded the government for providing a tax exemption on solar equipment.  

Bitakwira Bihona-Hayi Justin, the DRC’s minister for rural development, said: “The private sector has a key role to play in the off-grid electrification of the DRC. The DRC has passed a law in 2014 to completely privatize the energy sector to attract private investors. This partnership with BBOXX will bring basic energy services through a unique technology to the large off-grid population base in DRC.”

Laurent Van Houcke, BBOXX’s COO and co-founder, added: “It is really encouraging to see the government in the DRC recognize off-grid energy solutions as instrumental to providing electricity to its citizens.

“The government has provided the right regulatory framework and tariff policies that has allowed private companies like BBOXX to work effectively in the country’s energy industry for the benefit of its citizens.

“There are currently over one billion people in the world without access to electricity – we are committed to dramatically reducing this number. Our vision is to harness the power of pioneering data and technology to leapfrog traditional grid infrastructures and generate sustainable economic development by providing an on-grid experience in an off-grid setting.”