The Government of Togo and Bboxx, a next generation utility, have announced what is described as the first-ever memorandum of understanding (MoU) to sell smartphones in Togo on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The MoU will, the parties claim, improve digital inclusion and the delivery of digital public services through deployment of smartphones in the country.
The rollout of handsets is expected in 2022, as part of a Togo Smartphone initiative.
The programme will be in three phases. Phase 1 will involve market research, capturing important insights regarding customer preferences and requirements, including data plans and hardware. Phase 2 will see smartphones made available, on salary deduction or pay-as-you-go basis, to civil servants and public sector workers to incentivise the transition to digital public service delivery.
Phase 3 will see smartphones made available to the Togolese public, again via affordable financing options like pay as you go.
The MoU follows the Government of Togo’s prioritisation of making the digital economy a lever to accelerate the development of important sectors. A new strategy – called Togo Digital 2025 - is currently being implemented to drive these ambitions further.
Bboxx is best-known, to date, for manufacturing, distributing and financing decentralised solar-powered systems in developing countries. So far, Bboxx has deployed more than 500,000 solar home systems.
Bboxx first entered the Togo market in 2017. Through its joint venture, ‘Bboxx avec EDF’, solar home systems are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis using mobile money, and supported through an innovative digital subsidy, the ‘CIZO Cheque’, through a partnership with the Government of Togo under the flagship ‘CIZO’ Initiative. The initiative (‘cizo’ means ‘lighting up’ in the local Guin language) aims at making households rely more on solar power and boosting electrification in rural communities.
Bboxx has over 1,000 staff across nine offices sited in a number of countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Togo. Its head office is in the UK and its manufacturing operations are in China.