Solar-Powered Mobile Kiosk to Create Jobs Across Africa

October 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. solar-powered / ˈsoʊ lər / ˈpaʊ ərd /  (adj.) – run by energy from the sun’s rays
Example: Many are excited about the new solar-powered devices.

2. portable / ˈpɔr tə bəl / (adj.) – can be easily carried around
Example: They plan to buy portable beds for their outing.

3. target / ˈtɑr gɪt / (n.) – a person that you aim to get as a customer
Example: The target of the new product is retired employees.

4. lease / lis / (v.) – to allow someone to use something for a specific period of time in exchange for money
Example: We leased our old house to them.

5. installment / ɪnˈstɔl mənt / (n.) – parts or division of money that is owed to someone
Example: I will pay for my smartphone in monthly installments for two years.  


Read the text below.
A solar-powered mobile kiosk [KEE-osk] that can charge mobile phones has been developed to create jobs across Africa.

Rwandan businessman Henri Nyakarundi designed and developed a solar-powered mobile kiosk that can charge 80 mobile phones all at the same time. The kiosk is portable: it can be towed by bicycles or pushed by hand. According to Nyakarundi, the device aims to address the lack of access to electricity in Africa, particularly in Rwanda [roo-AHN-duh], where the majority of people depend on their mobile phones to communicate and send money.

Nyakarundi said in an interview that the kiosk is intended to create thousands of jobs across Africa. The targets are women and people with disabilities, who lack employment opportunities. Currently, there are 25 kiosks in operation in Rwanda. Nyakarundi’s plan is to put up 600 to 800 kiosks in the next two years.

The kiosks are leased by African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED), a company founded by Nyakarundi. In the current system, agents pay $300 for each kiosk. An initial $100 is given immediately to the company, while the remaining $200 will be paid in installments.

Women and people with disabilities, on the other hand, get the kiosks for free. According to   Nyakarundi, current agents are making around $38 to $100 a month, which is sufficient to pay rent and feed a family. 

Aside from the basic solar-powered mobile kiosk, the company has also developed a “smart” kiosk. Customers can pay a small fee to have Wi-Fi access. In addition, ARED will soon add software that will enable it to communicate with the kiosks for better monitoring.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What places do you think will benefit most from the solar-powered kiosk?
·         Do you think the kiosks will become successful and sustainable? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Which is better, charging stations run by electricity or by solar energy? Why do you think so?
·         What other solar-powered devices would you like to see in the future?

October 12, 2016