- Ericsson and The Coca-Cola Company launch pilot to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER(TM) in Rwanda, with a view to expanding the partnership to other countries
- EKOCENTER, designed by Solarkiosk and run by local women entrepreneurs, acts as a catalyst for community growth by providing safe water, solar power and connectivity, as well as a variety of goods and services
- Pilot project to be conducted in Rwanda in collaboration with telecommunications operator Tigo, who will assist with rural Internet and 3G coverage
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) today announced a pilot project to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER, a social enterprise initiative designed to empower community well-being by bringing safe water, solar power and mobile communications, as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities. The pilot project will be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda and German start-up company, Solarkiosk.
"EKOCENTER is an innovative social enterprise that endeavors to help communities thrive by providing further access to resources. Engaging new partners to join this journey adds skills and expertise beyond our core enhancing the value for the people in these communities," said Beatriz Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. "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."
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: "Mobile broadband can address a wide range of issues that hinder development - from poverty to lack of electricity and safe water, to financial exclusion and gender inequality. Creating a community hub is a great way to empower women while making needed services available in a convenient way. The constellation of companies partnering to figure out commercially sustainable business models is very exciting and I think we will need to see much more of this type of innovation going forward to meaningfully address poverty and development in rural areas."
Tongai Maramba, CEO of Tigo Rwanda, says: "We are excited to be part of pioneering an ecosystem that will change the lives of entire communities. The EKOCENTER is an ideal platform for Rwandans to use our network to develop new skills by accessing different digital services."
The Coca-Cola Company is partnering with Solarkiosk, to roll-out EKOCENTER in six countries in Africa and Asia in 2015. The unique design of the kiosk is tailored to meet the needs of underserved communities.
Lars Kruckeberg, CTO of Solarkiosk, says: "Solarkiosk's mission is the economic and social development in Base of the Pyramid communities worldwide. Our solar-powered, reliable source of energy provides a safe solution for off-the-grid communities, enabling them to conduct everyday activities many of us take for granted. Partnering with Coca-Cola and Ericsson brings us another step closer to fulfilling our goal of helping meet community needs."
The modular kiosks will be run by local women entrepreneurs, and serve as a community center where people gather and have access to free and fee-based services. The new connectivity services could include education, health care, mobile commerce, information and entertainment.
Ericsson will initially deploy its Managed Rural Coverage (MRC) solution to provide Internet services to the EKOCENTER in rural Rwanda. The company's TV Anywhere service will enable access to education and healthcare content as well as infotainment capabilities, enabling the kiosk to become a connected hub. Ericsson will also provide EKOCENTER with its M-Commerce solution that enables people to make transactions using their mobile wallets. Based on success of implementation, Ericsson will potentially incorporate its services at additional EKOCENTER sites.
The EKOCENTER will be on display at Ericsson's hall 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, March 2-5, 2015.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia, Dasani, FUZE TEA and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates.
For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company
Tigo is part of Millicom S.A (MIC). Millicom is a leading international telecommunications and media company dedicated to emerging markets in Latin America and Africa. Millicom sets the pace when it comes to providing digital lifestyle services to the world's emerging markets, giving access to the world, primarily through mobile devices. Operating in 14 countries, Millicom offers innovative and customer-centric products. Millicom employs more than 16,000 people and provides mobile, cable, broadband, TV content, online and financial services to over 56 million customers.
Solarkiosk enables and empowers the sustainable economic development of Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) communities worldwide through the provision of clean energy services, quality products and sustainable solutions. Intertwining an award-winning technology solution with an inclusive business model, Solarkiosk fosters local entrepreneurship at the BoP.
The Solarkiosk company was established in 2011 and is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The first kiosk was successfully deployed in Ethiopia in 2012. Since then, Solarkiosk has established six country subsidiaries and is involved with projects on three continents.
The unique design and business model of Solarkiosk has been honoured with numerous prestigious awards, amongst them the German Federal Design Award, Ecodesign Award of the German Federal Environmental Ministry, Empowering People Award Finalist by Siemens Stiftung, International Architecture Award by the Chicago Athenaeum, the Carl-Duisberg-Society Prize for Entrepreneurship.
Solarkiosk is nominated for the 20th Global Mobile Awards 2015, categorie best Product, Initiative or Service in Emerging markets, as well as the Connected World Awards, 2015.
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