Using QR payment technology for pay-as-you-go solar power in Uganda

Kenya's M-KOPA has announced that it will be piloting Mastercard's QR payment technology in Uganda for its pay-as-you-go solar program. The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Span.

M-KOPA provides affordable pay-you-go solar power to homes in East Afrika. So far, as of January 2018, the company reports that it has connected over 600,000 homes to solar power with approximately 500 new homes being added daily.

How Mastercard's Masterpass works
How Mastercard's Masterpass works.

“We’ve proven that the pay-as-you-go solar model works in East Africa, but the off-grid market in Africa is tremendous. Our partnership with Mastercard provides the roadway for more solar services and infrastructure across the continent. QR technology holds great opportunity to extend the range of payment channels for customers and represents a step-change in our mutual goal to light up homes and businesses in Africa,” said Nick Hughes, co-founder and chief product officer at M-KOPA.

Masterpass QR, Mastercard's payment technology that M-KOPA will be piloting in Uganda for its solar products, is an open and interoperable technology will create a new payment channel for M-KOPA’s pay-as-you-go customers outside for Kenya. It is expected that given the network of mobile network operators and banks using Masterpass QR, this will help M-KOPA to scale and grow across Afrika without requiring additional technology investments.

“We may take for granted our ability to produce light with the simple flick of a switch. But for many around the world, simple things like having electricity can be life-changing. By using our digital payment capabilities, we want to make it easy for people to access reliable and regular sources of energy and become more economically resilient – earn a livelihood by working from home, keep shops and businesses open for longer and study after dark,” said Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president, Commerce for Every Device at Mastercard.

If the pilot is succesful, Mastercard and M-KOPA plan to extend the program across East Afrika. Mastercard will also work with mobile network operators to extend this model to other utilities like water and gas in developing markets across the world. Apart from Uganda, Mastercard's Masterpass QR is currently available in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania.


Cover image credit: Mastercard

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