What challenges have you faced in the market?
There is lack of information and a gap in education. There is the perception that LPG is expensive and only for the rich. Because of the efficiency, LPG is actually cheaper than kerosene or charcoal. There are also perceptions that gas is dangerous. We are spending a lot on consumer education and awareness. There is lack of information on the health effects of burning charcoal and kerosene in confined places. This is the gap we need to fill.
Is the ‘kadogo’ economy (Swahili for ‘economy for the small man’) a blessing or a curse to Kenyans?
The economy at the base of the pyramid is the future. Many multinationals for a long time assumed that the people at the base of the pyramid cannot be served and that they are not a viable market. That is the only frontier left in business. If you are not serving this particular group you will not be in business for long. The ‘kadogo’ economy solves social issues and helps improve the economic situation of many people.
What are your future plans?
We want to expand to the rest of Kenya, then regional and if possible, global, because the problems of third world countries are the same. We want to ensure that we serve low income households that have been neglected. This market is viable. We will be able to address social, economic and environmental factors. We have low LPG penetration in Kenya. We want to change this.
In the next five years I see Premier Gas being a market leader in the household energy sector, improving livelihoods and leading the way in saving the environment by driving access to affordable gas. In ten years, I see us covering a good portion of the region with operations in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and hopefully Somalia if there will be peace there.