Uganda - Solar energy accessible to everyone
Forests and Climate - Committed to a beneficial environment for humans
Since 2011, Total has been coordinating a program of access to solar energy that now involves 16 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The principle is based on solar lamps marketed under the Awango by Total brand. Godfrey Lukwago and Paul Kisekka are developing the project in Total’s subsidiaries in Uganda.
We began to market Awango by Total solar lamps in Uganda in December 2012. Eighty-eight per cent of the country’s population has no access to electricity: our products, which can be used to provide lighting in the evening or recharge a cell phone, aim to remedy that.
They are a useful replacement for oil lamps which, in addition to their cost, present various hazards (health, fire...). That’s one reason for their success; the other is their quality.
Ugandans are already familiar with solar energy but until now they have only had access to products of low quality. Awango by Total lamps are reliable and robust, and come with a two-year guarantee. They are distributed via multiple channels, including travelling sales representatives, service stations, grocery stores and more. As it is a social business, our profit on these products is limited. On the other hand, they support our image as a reliable, high-quality energy supplier.
Understanding the region and management expertise are the keys to the project’s success.
The implementation of the Awango by Total project is the result of close cooperation on the ground by two Total divisions: Exploration & Production (E&P) and Marketing & Services (M&S). The two parts of the business bring complementary skills: E&P has detailed knowledge of the field and local populations, particularly in the region of Bloc 1*, whilst M&S is responsible for running the business on a national level, relying on its network of service stations and long experience of distribution in the country. It has been a successful cooperation bringing more visibility to the TOTAL brand as two affiliates co-exist in the same country. The target of selling 10,584 lamps was achieved by the end of 2013. Since then, sales have taken an upward trend.
We are preparing other projects based on the same model. There is just one more challenge to tackle: the ‘last mile’ question, which affects people with extremely limited access to energy. The combination of M&S’s commercial expertise and E&P’s knowledge of remote areas will be a decisive factor in this respect.
* The Total Group’s exploration area around Lake Albert in Uganda.