After he completed his master's degree in energy economics in France, he returned to his home country where many people still struggle to have electricity. There, he founded ARESS, an innovative solution that solves this issue through solar energy.

Léonide Michael Sinsin (pictured) is a doctor in energy economics, who graduated from the Paris Dauphine University. He completed his whole schooling in France, and in 2012 during a trip to Benin, his country, he founded with Paul Berthomieu, a classmate who went with him, African Renewable Energy System Solutions (ARESS). Sinsin had just completed his Master’s. He is ARESS’ CEO.

ARESS is a small and medium enterprise (SME) specializing in the field of renewable energies. Active in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Senegal, ARESS sells solar equipment, sets up solar installations, and provides energy audit and maintenance services.

At first, the business was selling energy equipment but quickly realized that rural customers had issues making the payments, despite having the capacity to pay in installments spread over months.

Sinsin and Berthomieu, however, found a way around this challenge. They set up a system that automatically deactivates the equipment in case of non-payment. Buyers could still pay in installments over 36 months.

In 2016, the new startup, MyJouleBox, which develops equipment, software, and economic and social solutions to innovate in solar development, was born from this Pay As You Go model. In 2022, the company was part of the top 45 most innovative startups in Africa at the AfricaTech Awards.

Since 2022, Léonide Michael Sinsin has also been the president of the Interprofessional Association of Renewable Energy Specialists of Benin (AISER-Benin), which promotes and defends the interests of actors in the renewable energy sectors. Between 2012 and 2015, he worked as a senior technical writer for the pan-African think tank "L'Afrique des Idées".

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

In most African countries, the digital transformation prompted by Covid-19 has continued unabated after the pandemic.   This is also the case in Gabon, where entrepreneurs have partnered with the electric and water utility SEEG to develop a tech solution that makes life easier for prepaid meter users.

Orema is a mobile app developed by the eponymous Gabonese startup founded by  Jean Claude Birane Ndiaye and  Scarlett Pindji. It allows users to manage their prepaid electric meters right from their smartphones or a web platform. 

The solution was developed when co-founder Birane Ndiaye noticed how difficult it usually was to load prepaid meters during the rainy season since such meters are generally installed outside. With Orema, users no longer have to move an inch to check their prepaid meter balance and monitor their consumption in real-time. They can also load the meter via mobile money. All they have to do is to install a smart control box next to the prepaid meter, install the mobile app, or connect to the smart box via the web platform. 

Since its launch, Orema’s developer has received several awards. In 2019, it joined Gabon Digital Incubation Company (SING SA)’s fourth accelerator program, Innovation Cohort 4.0. The following year, it won the first prize in the national digital business competition.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

With that offer, Kenya hopes to support bitcoin miners’ green transition. According to Ecofin Agency, several crypto mining firms have already contacted KenGen with power requests.  

Parastatal power producer Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) invites bitcoin mines to settle operations in Kenya. According to Ecofin Agency, which revealed the information recently, the power producer thus intends to monetize its geothermal power surplus and promote green crypto mining. 

We’ll have them here because We have the space and the power is near, which helps with stability,”  said Peketsa Mwangi, KenGen’s geothermal development director. 

Mr. Mwangi also revealed that some bitcoin mining companies have already approached the Kenyan company. "Their power requests vary, some of them had asked to start with 20MW to be later graduated... crypto mining is very energy-intensive," he added.  

According to Kenyan news outlet The Standard, KenGen hopes to install bitcoin mining farms around its main geothermal power plant near Naivasha (123 km west of Nairobi). The country is Africa’s largest geothermal energy producer. Its production potential is about 14,000 MW but its installed capacity is 863 MW. Meanwhile, crypto mining firms are under pressure due to their high carbon emissions as they require an outstanding volume of energy to run their mining computers and equipment. Last year, several mining companies were expelled from China. Some of them are still looking for countries with excess supplies of renewable energy. 

Published in Public Management

WattNow has gained popularity among individuals and companies over the past four years. This has earned the company participation in many international events and the interest of new investors.

To tackle the waste of energy in Tunisia and help households keep their electricity bills low, Issam Smaali (pictured) developed and launched, in 2017, his startup WattNow. Using IoT (Internet of Things) and digital tools, WattNow enables consumers to monitor, analyze and adjust the consumption of their electrical appliances in real-time.

The solution works with a smart meter. It integrates a machine learning system to analyze consumption. Collected data is sent to the startup's cloud where they are analyzed with algorithms and the results are sent to consumers either via a mobile app or a dedicated web interface. Based on the result, the user can directly give orders to the box and reduce their consumption.

Users can download the app from App Store and Play Store and set it up with the smart meter. The WattNow app displays real-time energy consumption both throughout the house, but also for each device that turns on or off. It also delivers a daily, weekly, or monthly history of the electricity consumption of the home or business. Alerts are sent to users when a device stays on or consumes too much energy.

With WattNow, Issam Smaali seeks to lower electricity bills for Tunisians by up to 30%. Highly appreciated for its social impact, the service has already been adopted by several households and large companies such as Orange Tunisia. The latter installed it in 2018 on several of its telecom sites and administrative buildings.

The solution was incubated at Flat6Labs and began its consolidation and development thanks to a $20,000 prize won in 2017 at the “BloomMasters” entrepreneurship competition. Another award worth $100,000 was obtained from the Oman Technology Funds. In 2019, WattNow benefited from the supervision of the Orange Fab Tunisie accelerator and participated at VivaTech 2019. In 2021, the startup participated in several tech events, including the annual GITEX GLOBAL technology fair in Dubai, and raised several thousands of dollars from several investors such as the venture capital fund Katapult or even Bridging Angels.

 Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in TECH STARS

UK-based mobile satellite communication provider Inmarsat announced a partnership with RLTT Digital Oilfields to provide digital solutions to oil operators in Libya. The announcement was made on February 2.

The partnership will leverage Inmarsat's IsatData Pro (IDP) and BGAN technologies to provide secure satellite-based data services to oil and gas producers. This will enable comprehensive monitoring of vital infrastructure, including wellheads at oil and gas drilling sites and production sites in oil basins. Producers will therefore be able to anticipate problems related to the deterioration of key assets on platforms, replace faulty equipment timely, and better plan maintenance work. The solution will help optimize production at the sites.

The partners plan to expand the offering to include monitoring, telemetry, tracking, and fleet management. The services will be provided by Inmarsat's ELERA L-band connectivity network, which boasts ultra-reliable 99.9% availability and small, robust terminals.

“Inmarsat’s experience in providing IoT-over-satellite connectivity for the industry means that it understands the types of products and services we want to offer to the oil and gas sector in Libya […] Operators across the country are digitalizing their operations to increase efficiency and output and improve on-site safety and security for staff. Our new partnership with Inmarsat puts RLTT in an excellent position to take full advantage of this growth opportunity,” said Taha Ellafi, Chairman at RLTT.

Commenting on the partnership, Mike Carter, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “As the industry automates its infrastructure and its processes to enable remote monitoring and asset management, it reduces the need to travel to remote, potentially hazardous places. This results in benefits in terms of efficiencies, sustainability, and safety.”

Published in Solutions

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