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New SunnyMoney CEO looks forward to challenges ahead

We’re hugely excited to announce the appointment of Caesar Mwangi as the new CEO of our social enterprise, SunnyMoney. Caesar takes over at a highly critical time for SolarAid and SunnyMoney as the solar market in Africa continues to grow and evolve.

SunnyMoney was set up in 2008 to sell solar lights to those living ‘beyond the grid’. It is essentially a business just like any other, but with an added philanthropic element. The business part allows them to scale up their work, reaching more and more people – the charitable element means that we can take the time and energy to ensure that even the very poorest remote communities are not overlooked.

Thanks to your support, this mix of charity and business has enabled SunnyMoney to reach 10 million people with safe clean light and become the largest distributor of solar lights in Africa. When SunnyMoney was first set-up there were only 40,000 lights across the whole continent. That figure now stands at around 7.5 million, reaching an impressive 50 million people.

However, 50 million people is just a drop in the ocean when we’re talking about half a billion people across the continent who are still living in the dark. Caesar knows the hard work is still yet to come:

“Distributing quality solar lamps to those who need them is the reason for our existence!…It has, however, become increasingly more challenging as we saturate the “easy to reach” customers and stretch out to get to those in more remote locations who are in dire need of clean light. Due to this reality, our sales over the last 12 months have been slower than anticipated and this has been further complicated by an influx of imitation products damaging trust in solar. We clearly have a lot of work on our plate but I have confidence that we are up to the task”. Caesar Mwangi, SunnyMoney CEO

SunnyMoney sold 20,000 more solar lights in the last financial year than it did in the previous one and while growth is remaining steady, it is nowhere near the levels required to reach our goal of eradicating the kerosene lamp by the end of the decade. But SolarAid Founding Director Jeremy Leggett believes Caesar is the perfect person to kick start the next phase of the solar revolution:

“After an extensive search, we are confident that Caesar is the right person to lead and grow the social enterprise in the second phase. His business-based approach is exactly what is needed. With his leadership, SunnyMoney will increase sales…ensuring that solar lights are affordable, available and accessible across rural Africa”. Jeremy Leggett, SolarAid Founding Director

Caesar is a successful African entrepreneur with a background in management consulting and a focus on business improvements processes and enterprise risk management. He is the former African Regional Director at Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) and spent 5 years as Managing Director at Sasini, one of Africa’s leading agribusinesses. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi, an MBA from the University of Witwatersrand and a PhD from the University of Johannesburg.

After joining SunnyMoney in May, Caesar has spent the last few weeks visiting the teams in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya, taking an in-depth look at the challenges ahead. He tells us he is hugely excited about the opportunity to help transform the fortunes of millions of people:

“I will continue to leverage our committed team and our well known brand, our two greatest assets, to ensure that we provide the lamps that are needed, at the best quality, at the best prices where they are most needed. Of course we are going to need all the help we can get from the amazing SolarAid supporters. Without their help, none of this would be possible”. Caesar Mwangi SunnyMoney CEO

From Casear and the team we would like to thank you for staying with us on this journey. Keep an eye out for some amazing ways you can join the solar revolution and help transform the lives of millions of people.