In an effort to address the power supply challenges facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and rural communities across Nigeria, Access Bank Plc, in collaboration with ASOLAR, has launched a green energy solution. The solution, which uses solar energy to power essential equipment such as lights, fans, television sets,PoS machines,among many others, is designed to provide reliable and cost-effective power to remote areas that are not connected to the national grid.
In his remarks during the launch event, held at the Access Bank branch in Garki, Abuja, under the theme “Light up your community,”Victor Etuokwu, the bank’s deputy managing director, said inconsistent power supply has become a major impediment to businesses and livelihoods in Nigeria.
Etuokwu, who was represented by Neka Adogu, the bank’s director of regional services, stated that the initiative was aimed at promoting financial inclusion in rural areas.
He said, “This inconsistent power supply poses a substantial challenge for small and medium enterprises [SMEs] as well as initiatives aimed at promoting financial inclusion in rural areas, which is considered a yardstick for economic growth in Nigeria.
According to Etuokwu, many SME owners and residents of rural areas in Nigeria spend significant amounts of money on purchasing and maintaining generating sets, as well as buying fuel, to power their businesses and homes. This, he noted, is not only costly but also has negative environmental impacts. The green energy solution, he added, will address these challenges by providing a reliable and affordable source of power, while also reducing carbon emissions and contributing to the country’s goal of a sustainable future.
Etuokwu further noted that, in the broader context of financial inclusion, lack of access to electricity is a key barrier. He stated that reliable electricity is a fundamental requirement for the implementation of modern financial services such as digital banking and payment systems, particularly in underserved rural areas. He explained that by harnessing the potential of solar energy, Access Bank aims to free businesses from the constraints of unreliable power sources and provide viable alternatives to conventional generators that rely on costly and polluting fossil fuels.
“Access Bank PLC collaboration with ASOLAR is not merely transforming power solutions; it is utilising our Access CLOSA Agent Network platform as the digital payment provider,” he said.
Hakeem Shagaya, the CEO of ASOLAR, stated that the company is dedicated to ensuring that every citizen in Nigeria has access to reliable and sustainable energy across the country. He expressed his gratitude to the bank’s management for the collaboration, noting that it was consistent with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals for clean and renewable energy.
Shagaya highlighted the importance of considering the environmental impact of the Access Green Energy initiative, noting that the initiative’s objectives go beyond simply lighting up homes. He said that the initiative is also about laying the groundwork for a greener and cleaner future. He emphasized that the organizations involved in the initiative must keep the profound environmental implications in mind as they work towards their shared goals. He also stressed the importance of ensuring that the initiative’s benefits are shared equitably among all stakeholders, including rural communities.
In his words, “The Solar Home Systems represent a commitment to environmental stewardship, reducing carbon footprints, and actively contributing to the global fight against climate change.
“The positive environmental impact extends beyond emissions reduction, encompassing the preservation of ecosystems, the promotion of biodiversity and the creation of a more sustainable and resilient planet for future generations.
Speaking on the initiative, Chizoba Iheme, group head of financial inclusion at Access Bank, disclosed that the bank has over 300,000 agents across the country who will help distribute the solution nationwide.
Iheme explained that the initiative is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the issue of power (light) faced by SMEs in Nigeria, particularly those in rural areas to boost their sustainability and growth throughout the country. She further stated that the initiative is consistent with Access Bank’s commitment to supporting SMEs in Nigeria and helping them achieve their goals.