MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Western Union Agent Sogexpress, a leading Haitian money transfer and payment services company and subsidiary of Sogebank, today launched a new platform that enables the Haitian diaspora to use remittances to finance renewable energy products for families and friends in Haiti, where only 28 percent of the population has access to electricity1.
The platform features a dedicated website that allows local customers and senders living abroad to pre-order the solar light kit of their choice at www.klereayiti.com. They then use their order number to complete payment at participating Western Union Agent locations around the world via the Western Union® Quick PaySM platform. Orders will be fulfilled by Sogexpress in three to five working days.
Western Union and Sogexpress’ corporate commitments provide an ecological and viable solution to address Haiti’s “energy poverty” challenge. The two companies are key partners of the ‘Klere Ayiti’ – “Light-up Haiti” – initiative made possible by technical assistance funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and provided by Arc Finance. The objective of ‘Klere Ayiti’ is to catalyze new commercial business models that will increase consumer access to clean energy in Haiti. The model is based on one piloted in a previous MIF-Arc Finance-Sogexpress project executed in 2012 to 2013. The remittance platform will add a new financing option to enable Haitians to access larger systems that have economic, health, and social benefits.
Sean Mason, Vice President for Western Union in the Caribbean said, “The Klere Ayiti initiative is a real life example of the positive impact Western Union aims to achieve when we say we are Moving Money for Better. Through our services, we have seen the quality of life improve, education levels lift, jobs created and economies grow. We are committed to the collaborative approach of delivering renewable energy products, through a technologically innovative process of purpose-directed payments, with multiple benefits for the people of Haiti.”
Franck Lanoix, Sogexpress Executive Vice President, is enthusiastic about the initiative and the impact that solar energy will have on the lives of everyday Haitians at home and in small businesses. “At Sogexpress we want to help all Haitians benefit from our natural resource – an abundance of sunlight. With these solar lighting kits children can study at night, families will feel more safe and secure, businesses can stay open longer and people can charge their phones. Having a cleaner and more accessible alternative for electricity with the solar light kits has the potential to transform the lives of millions of Haitians,” he said.
Haiti receives substantial remittances inflows every year – approximately US$2 billion in 2014 according to the Multilateral Investment Fund. Remittances represent over 20 percent of GDP2 – mainly from the million-plus Haitians living in the United States and Canada. The average monthly remittance size is US$60 to $200, and a substantial portion of this is used to pay for energy, including fuel for lighting, cooking and transportation3.
Société Générale Haitienne de Transferts S.A. (Sogexpress) is the leading money transfer and payment service company in Haiti. Sogexpress started operations in October 2002 with the goal of offering diversified payment services through a national network that has high technology standards, efficient operations and competent personnel. Sogexpress provides money transfer services as an authorized agent of Western Union. Sogexpress has become an important provider of phones, phone cards and electronic recharge (pap-padap) in Haiti. Sogexpress has national coverage with 57 branch locations in Haiti.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
1 Source: OLADE, Latin American Energy Organization “Comprehensive Planning for Electric Power Supply in Haiti – Expansion of the Supply for Electricity Generation”
2 Source: Maldonado, R., Hayem, M., “Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean Set a New Record High in 2014.” Multilateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank. Washington, D.C., 2015.3 Source: Arc Finance, Market Research Study, 2009
Source: Western Union