, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Barclays Bank of Kenya (BBK) has invested Sh26 million in “Light up Kenya” an initiative aimed at moving more than 100,000 rural establishments to solar energy.
The first phase of this initiative will be implemented in partnership with the Kenya Girl Guides Association.
The project is benchmarked on statistics that indicate that only 32 percent of the Kenyan population is connected to the national power grid.
The remaining 68 percent rely on environmentally harmful and expensive sources of fuel such as kerosene for energy.
Speaking when launching Light Up Kenya, BBK Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Awori said the bank is committed to support the government to provide universal access to clean energy sources.
“One of the unique selling points of the Light Up Kenya initiative is the implementation model which is anchored on economic empowerment. 2500 youth and women drawn from 12 counties will be equipped with financial and employability skills to enable them set up sustainable businesses through which they will resell the solar kits,” said Awori.
“This is in line with our commitment to transform the lives of 5 million youth by the year 2015,” he added.
On her part, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who is also the patron of the Kenya Girl Guides Association called for more environmental conservation efforts to build on the country’s forest cover.
“We are looking to plant 5 million trees in 3 years, I call upon various stakeholders to join the Guiding movement in environmental conservation efforts, to discourage desertification,” urged the First Lady.
The Light Up Kenya initiative is part of the wider Barclays energy agenda which the bank partner with Kenya Energy Generating company and Kenya Power in their quest to provide clean energy.
The bank has also invested Sh13.4 billion to increase the capacity of the Thika Power plant by 60 Megawatts.
The bank has so far raised Sh7 million towards this initiative through its calendar activities ranging from employee programs, customer events as well as support from the Barclays golf circuits.