Arc Finance and Sogexpress launch KlereAyiti.com, a new platform for financing clean energy in Haiti through remittances.Read
Arc’s partner the Societe Generale Haitienne de Transferts S.A (Sogexpress), a leading money transfer and payment service company in Haiti, and the Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, have launched a new platform called Klere Ayiti, Haitian Creole for “Light up Haiti.” This platform enables the Haitian diaspora to use remittances to finance renewable energy products for families and friends in Haiti, where a large majority of the population does not have access to electricity. This collaboration expands on a pilot implemented from 2012 to 2013 by Arc Finance with support from the Multilateral Investment Fund, a part of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (MIF/IDB).
The platform features a dedicated website that allows local customers and senders living abroad to pre-order the solar light kit of their choice at www.KlereAyiti.com. They then use their order number to complete payment at participating Western Union Agent locations around the world via the Western Union® Quick PaySM platform (present in over 174 countries around the world). Orders will be fulfilled by Sogexpress in 3-5 working days.
This platform was launched in late July 2015 in Port au Prince and Miami, the culmination of many months of preparation and hard work by the Sogexpress and Western Union. The process involved market research, product selection, website construction, adaptation and development of IT and web platforms, marketing and promotion. The platform will provide an enormous opportunity for innovation in using an established remittance corridor to finance renewable energy in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.
Only 28% of the Haitian population has access to grid electricity , and the 2010 earthquake was devastating in both human and economic capital. The country receives a considerable percentage of its GDP in remittances (over 20 percent of GDP ), with a huge diaspora population living in the US – about 420,000 Haitians live in the New York area alone. Thus, Haiti was an idea choice to test remittances as an end-user financing and distribution mechanism in the 2012-13 pilot phase, and the success of that program has led to its current expansion stage.
The results of the pilot phase were encouraging, and led to a joint venture between USAID and the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund to fund Phase III, which will, after months of careful review, provide the Sundaya T-Lite for purchase exclusively at Sogexpress e-commerce site at KlereAyiti.com. The T-Lite is a modular solar light kits, available as a kit with two or three lights, will be sold for US$140 and $180.
Both systems have the capacity to recharge mobile phones, a highly desirable feature in Haiti. Awango by Total, an initiative of the company Total to market affordable solar lamps in developing countries, is committed to bringing only the highest quality products to Sogexpress customers and backs this assurance with a two-year warranty. The selected systems have been sold in more than 16 countries, with total sales exceeding 600,000 units.
Already, training delivered by Sogexpress, Awango by Total, and Arc Finance in February 2015 has increased the capacity of Sogexpress sales staff to effectively market, sell, and service the Sundaya T-Lite products that will be sold through the remittance platform.
Staff from all 57 Sogexpress stores were trained on the Sundaya products to ensure the staff had optimum knowledge of the lamps’ features, use, and after-sales service, through ongoing training throughout the course of the program, recognizing the importance of client satisfaction in the success of this initiative.
This exciting new program will target 5,000 sales across the remittance platform, with marketing reaching 300,000 existing remittance senders in the Diaspora and 500,000 recipients in Haiti through an awareness-building campaign, which will use energy literacy and promotional programs to educate Haitians both at home and in the diaspora on the economic and social benefits of switching to clean energy products.