Case Studies

Innovation in Financing Green Products for the Unbanked


In December 2013, Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd (CBA) Bank approved a debt facility for M-KOPA, a Kenyan-based tech start-up company in the business of selling solar powered battery packs through a staggered instalment payment system managed entirely via the mobile payments platform M-Pesa. There were many reasons that CBA might have rejected their loan request. M-KOPA was pursuing an entirely unprecedented business model, with no industry peers to benchmark performance against. The company also had less than three years track record in the business, no tangible assets to serve as collateral, no commercial investors lending credibility to its business thesis, and was moreover led by expatriates with no prior business history in Kenya to serve as reputational track record. Despite this high risk profile, CBA helped structure and agreed to manage and significantly contribute to a USD 10 million debt facility designed to ease the working capital constraints that were inhibiting M-KOPA’s growth.