Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Tigo and SolarKiosk are partnering on a social enterprise initiative called ‘EkoConnect’ that is designed to provide safe water, solar power, mobile communications as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities in Rwanda.
The kiosks will be operated by local women entrepreneurs, serving as a community center where people come together and have access to free and fee-based services.
“EKOCENTER is an innovative social enterprise that endeavors to help communities thrive by providing further access to resources,” Beatriz Perez, the Chief Sustainability Officer, Coca-Cola Company said. “Engaging new partners to join this journey adds skills and expertise beyond our core, enhancing the value for the people in these communities. Connectivity has become a fundamental part of thriving communities and economies. We’re excited about the solutions Ericsson can deliver to EKOCENTER, solutions we believe will foster positive change.”
The pilot project will be conducted in Rwanda in a collaboration with telecommunications operator Tigo, who will be assisting with rural internet and 3G coverage. Additionally, Coca-Cola company aims to partner with SolarKiosk to rollout EKOCENTER in some countries in Africa and Asia in 2015.
Connectivity services of these kiosks includes information relating to entertainment, healthcare, mobile commerce and education. Ericcson initially will deploy its managed rural coverage (MRC) solution to provide internet services to EKOCENTER in rural Rwanda and an M-commerce solution that will enable people make transactions using their mobile wallets.
The EKOCENTER kiosk will be on display at Ericsson’s hall 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, March 2-5, 2015.
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