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Solar electricity and drinking water in rural Africa
More than 630 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, while 40% of the population lack a working supply of drinking water. This despite the fact that clean drinking water and modern energy services are essential if people are to stay healthy and improve their living conditions.
Siemens Stiftung and Solarkiosk AG have committed to providing as many Africans in rural areas as possible with a steady supply of electricity and clean drinking water. To achieve this, they jointly founded the nonprofit organization SolarFountain gGmbH in the summer of 2015, combining their expertise in the area of basic services in Africa.
The solar-powered kiosks will be equipped with water filters and will sell electricity, clean drinking water and basic everyday goods. They will be operated by local small businesses on the basis of a social franchise model. This will create stable jobs in rural areas, help kiosk operators to sell their products and ensure provision of maintenance for the kiosks themselves.
SolarFountain gGmbH in Berlin will manage business activities on site and handle partner management and financing. The initial investments in the planned supply system will be provided by donations. Local independent entrepreneurs will run the kiosks in a way that covers the costs of their ongoing operation. This approach will allow the kiosk operators to offer their products at affordable prices appropriate to the low purchasing power of local residents. SolarFountain gGmbH is thus combining an already proven kiosk model with a financially sustainable approach.
The first SolarFountain kiosks will open in Kenya by the end of this year. SolarFountain gGmbH plans to establish many new kiosks in the coming years and is therefore aiming to establish partnerships with foundations, businesses and development organizations.