The project team has found that Kenya's rural commercial household high value goods and services sector is well-developed, with strong working linkages between urban suppliers and rural outlets (see Kenya country status report in Document Search). Considerable scope exists in Kenya for expanding the product and service range to include high value energy products and services, and to link up existing energy goods and service operations with other, more well-developed (and financed) goods and services outlets.
Kenya has the
most diversified rural product and service networks in East Africa. In
addition to an extensive network of petroleum station outlets in rural
areas, there are a number of other types of outlets. The *hire-purchase
outlet market is amazingly well-developed in Kenya. Moreover, there is
an extensive network of solar suppliers, and, in particular, a very sophisticated
network that is ready to begin marketing using catalogues. The depth of
these markets was not anticipated prior to the work, and there is considerable
scope for pursuing various models using these outlets in Kenya.
In 1990, these hire purchase stores were found in seven urban areas of Kenya. Today, hire purchase outlets can be found in some 33 cities and towns in Kenya, offering relatively easy access (within 30 km) to a wide range of products to more than three quarters of Kenya's population, including the majority of its rural population. There is considerable scope for tapping into these hire-purchase outlets for high value energy goods and services. These outlets operate their own consumer finance schemes, namely for salaried rural employees (e.g., teachers, civil servants, employees of rural companies) or those able to put up the collateral. This scale of these operations and the scope of existing rural finance through these hire-purchase outlets was unknown prior to the work, and could offer significant potential to expand access in rural areas, particularly if combined with energy supply companies.
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