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Microsoft, through its 4Afrika intiative, has entered into a partnership with ICE Commercial Power, a Nigerian-based renewable energy provider, to provide reliable solar power to 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Nigeria for the next two years.
Chief Executive Officer, ICE Commercial Power, Emmanuel Ekwueme, who disclosed this in a statement, said the partnership with Microsoft4Afrika will enable the company leverage a powerful cloud platform to deliver quality service to its customers.
ICE had piloted its business model with a focus on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), with a view to address challenges of small businesses in relation to access to affordable electricity.
Ekwueme said ICE was poised to connect 10,000 SMEs to reliable solar power in the next two years, noting, “The team at Microsoft 4Afrika and Microsoft Nigeria has been very supportive from day one, and with their partnership. Our earlier pilot program has been a great success. This next phase will enable us to scale our technology to reach more small business customers across the country.”
He noted that a major technology component of the ICE operation involves utilizing cloud-connected solar equipment, which helps facilitate remote monitoring and maintenance, adding that the company maintains an integrated web and mobile-based platform, which helps to facilitate payments processing for customers.
On her part, ISV Lead West Africa for Microsoft4Afrika, EduAbasi Essien, said the partnership was vital for wealth creation and engaging youths in viable business enterprises in the country.
According to her, “SMEs play such a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent, which makes enabling their success a key part of what we do through the 4Afrika Initiative. “We are excited to partner with ICE Commercial Power on connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources, minimizing business downtime and maximizing productivity.
“Off-grid energy solutions, such as this, are also a key investment area for us, as evidenced through the recent launch of the African Development Centre (ADC) in Lagos, which has off-grid energy innovation as a key priority”.