Washington DC-based microfinance firm Finca International plans to provide affordable solar energy products to 1.5 million people in Africa by 2019, according to Finca International president and chief executive Rupert Scofield.

The firm will also work on social enterprises for low-income consumers and small business to make progress on the off-grid market.

Scofield announced the plans at the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access. The forum gathered stakeholders and the private sector to make commitments to bringing clean, low-cost energy to developing countries.

Finca will help 300,000 households acquire solar lamps and cell phone chargers. It will also train entrepreneurs to sell and distribute the products along with innovative financing mechanisms to assist lower income people in buying them.

Finca claimed 200 million people in Africa live without electricity, instead relying on polluting kerosene lamps for light.

Scofield said: “Access to energy is essential to help people live more comfortable lives and to become more productive. Access to clean energy is even better. But the financing piece of this puzzle – both for low-income consumers and off-grid energy providers – is often a reason that markets don’t get going.

“With FINCA’s trusted brand, our 30 years of experience, our ability to facilitate or provide financing, and a deep knowledge of the challenges that our poorest clients face, we know that we can make a difference here.”

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