Steps to poverty eradication, the TellCo Europe Nigeria initiative
by Zebulon Agomuo
May 13, 2018 | 12:33 am| | | Start Conversation
Imagine if all the welders, tailors, barbers, salon operators, shoe makers, and other owners of small businesses have constant supply of electricity to do their work; imagine if there were reliable power supply in the country, some youths, holders of university degrees, who are bus drivers and ‘Okada’ riders, and those who may have been forced to take to crime, would have considered owning their individual businesses, and poverty would have drastically reduced.
For many years, Nigeria has been in the dark. Efforts by successive governments to break the power jinx have yielded no positive result. A country of over 190 million people is still struggling to constantly generate 5000 megawatts of electricity for distribution for domestic consumption.
The major problem is infrastructure as experts have said that although generation is indeed a big issue, a bigger issue is distribution as there is no infrastructure to accommodate the amount generated.
The power issue in Nigeria has negatively affected every aspect of human life in the country and quality of life is reduced. The situation appears to have worsened today with the increasing number of youths roaming the streets without job. A few of them who have begun their private businesses are not faring any better as cost of doing business, particularly power, has continued to frustrate their efforts.
Experts strongly believe that constant electricity supply would take many youths off the streets and encourage idle hands to go into meaningful and rewarding ventures. Those already in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) would begin to positively impact the society by not only creating employments but also removing prospective criminals from the unemployment circle. With constant supply of power, an army of unemployed youths would most probably go into different trades using their skills.
It was this yawning gap that TellCo Europe Nigeria saw and determined to end the life of misery which many Nigerians had been consigned into. They insist there is no reason whatsoever Nigeria should remain in the dark and in poverty.
In an event that attracted people from all walks of life last Tuesday, TellCo Europe Nigeria Limited, in cooperation with TellCo Europe Switzerland, in a glitz, introduced into the Nigerian market, TellCoSol Off-Grid Solar Power System, a Swiss technology that aims to electrify the country without stress.
The product, unveiled at a Green Conference, themed: ‘Climate Opportunities & Green Entrepreneurship’ held inside the Lantana Hall, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, has been described as a ‘new dawn’.
Chairman, TellCo Europe, Rudolf Fiedler, in his presentation said the coming of TellCo Sol into Nigeria was “a stepping stone to a brighter and less worrying life. No more dark nights and days without electricity.”
Fiedler promised that his organisation would enhance the quality of education in the country through the release of innovative children education packages.
Pledging to assist in making learning in Nigeria more interactive, he said: “Instead of a traditional classroom setting, we will deliver education packages for children through a USB stick which is designed to be interactive for the children and the parents. On learning through the app, we will let them access the information when they need it most. Different modules will be applicable for e-learning and for each client a tailor-made solution will be made.”
He also promised that the innovation would make for better access to information “which is real-time for both the youth and their parents, and information is presented in an easy-to-use and useful format for the respective user.”
Explaining the benefits of TellCoSol, the chairman said: “They reduce CO2 emission, do not use poisonous materials such as mercury; zero greenhouse gas emissions; Easy to install solar public safety lights for remote places; reduce vehicle thefts, burglary robbery and vandalism, and reduce dependence on traditional forms of energy.”
On the 10 goals of the collaboration with TellCo Europe Nigeria, Fiedler said: “It would end energy poverty in Nigeria; create jobs and skilled workers; makes for leadership of off-grid solar in Africa; power independence at local level; technology transfer by training; grow of SMEs and entrepreneurships’ green technology to reduce CO2’ encourages asset and financing; empowerment of local communities; TellCo Sol units affordable within households, SMEs, clinics, police and workshops.”
Catch Energy, group chairman, United Kingdom, David Collett, expressed the optimism that with the collaboration between TellCo Europe and TellCo Europe Nigeria Africa was on its way to compete with the world.
His optimism stemmed from, “youthful, willing labour force eager to learn about green energy” and willingness to leverage on a “growing industry that already employs 8.1 million worldwide.”
He however, listed some disadvantages of Africa to include, “precarious grid infrastructure; reliant on costly diesel generation, frequent power cuts” which he noted put Africa at an economic disadvantage to the rest of the world. These are indeed what the collaboration aims to correct.
Speaking on getting better energy solutions which TellCoSol system tries to achieve, Collett said: “Storage is the key in realising the true social, financial, and environmental potential of renewable energy generation, as well as solving grid issues that can result from demand and generation incompabilities”.
Listing some reasons consumers in Nigeria should embrace the new technology, the Catch Energy group chairman, said: “Do these problems sound familiar? Are your electricity costs going up? Is electricity on/off or weak voltage? Is maintenance and repairs more complicated? Labour expenses moving higher? Are your lighting systems old technology, less efficient and shining ’yellow’ beams? Are you seeking ways to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce CO2 emissions? Is there pressure to adopt renewables yet you are unsure about which technology to choose? What are alternatives for financing capital expenditure (CAPEX)?”
In his presentation, ‘Welcome: The Future is Now!’ Omar Clark Fisher, co-founder and financier, TellCo Europe, emphasised the business side of the product. He said willing individuals could cash into the opportunity either by paying cash to get the system or get into the lease-to-own model (arrangement).
Fisher said that getting the product was a way to ‘go green’. According to him, it will guarantee low CAPEX, reduce operational expenditure (OPEX); eliminate maintenance costs, he urged prospective customers to make haste to “adopt new technologies now and start saving money, reduce carbon emissions and footprint”. He also emphasised that there was no “need to tender, order direct”.
In her keynote address, Aisha Abubakar, minister of state, ministry of industry, trade and investment, represented by Francis Alaneme, said: “We believe that supporting small businesses by promoting green MSMEs is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs and boosting our economy by mitigating the effect of climate change and epileptic power supply in the country. This is why government is working with stakeholders across all sectors to ensure that MSMEs have the support they need to grow now and in the future. This can be witnessed in the milestone being achieve by the Presidential Council on the Ease of Doing Business.”
At a media briefing to unveil TellCo Europe Nigeria and the inauguration of the off-grid solar power solutions for MSMEs in Nigeria, the previous day, Wale Omole, a professor and chairman of the company, said: “When we consider the fact that about1.3 billion people are presently living without access to electricity with the basic benefits and opportunities it pointed to this statement as the reason for poverty and unsustainable development in Africa. Furthermore, with over 2.6 billion people using wood charcoal and traditional biomass for cooking fuel, which further worsens the situational challenges driven by energy poverty. Thus, you will agree with me, the close linkage between the exploitation of energy sources and global climate change scenario as obvious.
“You may wish also to recall, that the EU, as a key partner in the energy sector has made Energy a special priority in the portfolio of the EU’s poverty alleviation and eradication strategies for many years.”
“It is important to highlight here that power is a critical component of the nation’s infrastructure and renewable energy is an inextricable growing pathway of the future supply mix now disparagingly needed for Nigeria, without which future sustainable economic growth and development will be a mirage.
“Furthermore, electrification has also the added advantage of opportunity to make work more productive, living safer, more gratifying, and promote higher standard of living in an enviable developing economy that will soon be seen as continental envy among African member states, through this unique partnership with TellCo Europe,” he further said.
Omole also noted that “electric supply system also supports other critical infrastructure systems such as transportation, healthcare facilities, water supplies for cities and farms, manufacturing centers and business ecosystems.
“According to a publication on off-grid potentials of Nigeria, “Nigeria presently has the biggest and most attractive off-grid opportunity in Africa, and one of the best locations in the world for mini-grids and solar home systems.
“Added to this, Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (GDP of $405 billion), has over 180 million people, and a flourishing economy.
“However, it is sad to note that, significant amount of the economy is continually powered largely by small-scale generators (10–15 GW) and more than 50percent of Nigeria’s population have limited or no access to the grid.”
On the day of the launch, he reiterated the need for Nigerians to embrace the new technology.
Victor Fodeke, managing director, TellCo Europe Nigeria, was very passionate about the introduction of the system into Nigeria, which he believed would revolutionalise the country.
“I believe this is a historic moment. The solution is here, the solution is now and you are part of what will make that history,” Fodeke said.
TellCo Europe Nigeria is a renewable and clean energy Solutions Company incorporated in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Matters ACT.
The company was established as a vehicle to providing Off-Grid Solar Power Business Solutions to MSMES in Nigeria, Solar Homes Systems to households, and Solar Electricity Generation for a greener and sustainable urban future in Nigeria and Africa.
The previous day, at the world press conference to announce the new company preceding the formal unveiling of the TellCoSol off-grid power solution,
The TellCoSol system is a Swiss technology, a 1200W Solar power system. Some of the unique features of the Solar System include 7’’ LCD touch screen, Radio with MP3/MP5 Player; Light up to 5 rooms and more at the same time; charge 2 mobile phones at the same time; Remote Control; Camera; Speakers; complete with solar module, gel battery, and cables (plug and play); three years warranty; and available in three colours – black/grey, white/grey, red/grey.
The system has some fixed options: Two AC standing fans; AC TV (32 inch) and AC refrigerator (70 litres). Its daily use is from 18 to 24 hours. It is insured for two years – which, the company said has never happened in Africa and its installation attracts no extra cost.
TellCo Europe Nigeria is the only TellCo franchise in Africa for now.
A statement signed by Olawale Akinwumi, executive vice chairman and CEO, on behalf of the company, to announce the events had said that the move was to bridge the energy gap in the country and to ensure that miseries associated with lack of access to electricity were mitigated.
“Energy is at the heart of most critical economic, environmental and developmental issues facing Nigeria today. Clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy services are indispensable for Nigeria’s prosperity. So, ending energy poverty in Nigeria, and indeed, in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a Green Movement!” Akinwumi said.
He explained that the parent company, TellCo Europe Switzerland, had given its commitment to work with TellCo Europe Nigeria to succeed quickly.
The statement also added that TellCo Europe Switzerland was already arranging funding support for 1,000,000 Units of Off-Grid Solar Business Solution for Barbers in Nigeria. The barbers are the initial project off-takers. A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed with the National Association of Barbers and Salon Employers in Abuja, in 2016.
Present at the event were many dignitaries from within and outside the country. In attendance also were Ayo Oni and Ayo Opadoku, both directors of TellCo Europe Nigeria; representative of Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State governor; representative of Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari; Victor Meju, senior special assistant on power, energy and water resources, to Anambra State Governor, among many others.
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