UpOwa - Issue 6: Cameroon 6.75% Bond
Every £260 invested will enable upOwa to install one of their higher-end Solar Home System to a household previously living off-grid.
Your investment will help upOwa to provide clean energy to 1,300 families in Cameroon.
Founded in 2014, upOwa has a bold ambition; to make solar energy available to millions of households now living in the dark in Cameroon and across Central Africa. Since their incorporation upOwa has become the leading ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar company in Cameroon and is on the way to become a leader of the solar sector in Francophone African countries. They have successfully installed up to 14,000 solar home systems across Cameroon with the aim to reach a further 100,000 beneficiaries over the next 6 months, and 1 million by 2024.
This project benefits from match funding thanks to UK aid. An up-front match of £87,500 has been provided, meaning that for every £3 invested into this project by the crowd an additional £1 will be invested through match funding.
Key product information
Issuer: upOwa SAS
Issuing Country: France
Investment target: £350,000
Minimum investment: £50
Maximum investment: No maximum
Maturity: 36 months
Expected interest rate: 6.75% per annum
Withholding tax rate: 0% (applicable to UK residents who do not invest within an IF ISA)
Interest payment frequency: 6 monthly
Capital repayment: Semi-annually (from 12 months onwards)*
Financial instrument: Unsecured interest bearing bond
* For the first 12 months after the Issue Date, a "Grace Period" applies during which no capital repayments occur. During this Grace Period, the Issuer will make Interest Payments on the Interest Payment Dates. The first capital repayment will take place 12 months after the Issue Date, and on a semi-annual basis thereafter. Please refer to the amortization schedule found on Page 21 of the offer document.
This is a bond issued by a single company (rather than a savings product) and therefore it is recommended that you are careful with the amount you invest.
You must read the investment memorandum (provided below) where a full statement of risks is presented, particularly in section 5. Risk analysis overview.
See what upOwa do
upOwa are one of the pioneering solar companies supported by the Energise Africa initiative, a joint venture between Lendahand and Ethex.
What the project investment will enable
Every £260 invested will allow upOwa to install a higher-end Solar Home System ('SHS') to a household that was previously off-grid. With the funds from this raise, upOwa intend to supply 1,300 systems meaning that they will be able to bring electricity to 1,300 families previously off-grid in Cameroon.
UpOwa’s high-end offer is a solar home system composed of a solar panel, a control unit that includes a long-lasting lithium battery, a universal cell phone charger, 4 ceiling lamps and TV. All products distributed by upOwa come from suppliers who are Lighting Global Certified.
UpOwa’s research shows that families living off-the-grid in rural Cameroon use an average of 4 cell phones per household. Those are out of battery most of the time, which forces users to travel a few hours to the next town at least once a week in order to recharge batteries. Thanks to the SHS's universal plug, phone charging can take place at home anytime, which allows users to save both a lot of time and money.
As most clients can’t afford to pay upfront for the full value of their SHS, upOwa allows for a repayment scheme over 18 months at the end of which individuals own their system outright. Payments are flexible in order to meet customers’ fluctuating cash reserves. At the time of installation, upOwa field agents will also train the users on how to make the most of their solar home system in a way that maximises its lifetime. Local call centres are also on hand to help users with their systems should they encounter difficulties.
UpOwa are looking to raise £350,000 from this bond issue and will use those funds to deploy a total of 1,300 SHS across Western and Central Cameroon from their regional hubs in Bafoussam and Yaoundé. In rural areas of Cameroon only 22% of individuals have access to electricity.
Not only will your investment into this offer allow upOwa to provide electricity to off-grid families, but you'll also be helping the company to grow and provide further employment opportunities. In 5 years, upOwa aims to rapidly expand and has set itself 3 bold global objectives; to provide electricity to 1 million beneficiaries, to create 1,000 direct jobs and to save 2,000 tonnes of CO2.
Social and environmental impact
Solar home systems & lanterns have been shown to have a significant impact on customers' lives and the environment. UpOwa has sold over 14,000 SHS in Cameroon since their incorporation, impacting the lives of roughly 70,000 people.
Social Impact statistics taken from GOGLA's July 2018 study 'Powering Opportunity: The Economic Impact of Off-Grid Solar'
of solar light users who previously used kerosene lamps experienced an improvement in their health
of customers purchasing a solar lantern or home system reported feeling safer since buying or using their product
of households with children report that they now have more time with which to do their homework
Using industry-recognised Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) impact metrics, upOwa has calculated the environmental impact of installing 1,300 Solar Home Systems as follows:
Number of people who will enjoy clean energy access
Average new household saving on energy-related expenditure over solar product lifetime
Total greenhouse gas emissions offset per household over the lifetime of the product