M-KOPA (Kenya)

East Africa,Africa Infrastructure

Headquartered in Nairobi, M-KOPA is the world’s largest, pay-as-you-go solar energy company.

Its off-grid solar home systems now operate in over 700,000 low-income households in Kenya and Uganda. It is also using its credit system and distribution network to provide a range of financial and other services to its customers.

The firm was founded in 2010 by Nick Hughes, Chad Larson, and Jesse Moore.

Our investment

In February 2017, CDC invested $11.6 million of equity in M-KOPA, with a subsequent follow-on round of $7 million in November 2017.

In 2017 CDC also provided $20 million of debt financing (equivalent amounts in Kenyan and Ugandan shillings), as part of a $55 million local currency facility alongside Stanbic, FMO and Norfund. This was a landmark deal in the off-grid energy sector, being the largest commercial local currency debt facility to date for a pay-as-you-go company.

Our investments will allow M-KOPA to install solar home systems in a further one million homes.

Expected impact

Over 600 million people in Africa live without access to reliable and affordable grid-based electricity.
M-KOPA’s pioneering systems use solar energy to power lights, a torch and a radio (which are provided by the company), as well as mobile phone charging.

The system runs through a control box, which contains a mobile data chip, through which customers can buy credit for their power.

Our investment will enable M-KOPA to provide low-cost electricity to low-income customers in Kenya, via daily mobile payment plans on a lease-to-own basis. This allows them to replace highly polluting kerosene with a long-term, sustainable electricity producing system.

Environmental and social aspects

M-KOPA customers currently enjoy over 75 million hours of kerosene-free lighting per month and on current estimates will save over 380,000 tonnes of CO2 over four years. Replacing kerosene with solar-powered lighting also radically reduces the health impacts of smoke inhalation – estimated to be the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes per day.

In addition to providing finance, we are working with other off-grid solar companies, lenders and industry stakeholders to strengthen consumer protections, and to improve environmental and social management within M-KOPA.

Key facts


Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

Africa, East Africa

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

Direct Debt
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

June 2017

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.


This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.


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