News / Africa

Competition Aims to Bring Light to Africans Off the Grid

TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Onyiego

In an effort to raise standards of living across the continent, the World Bank Group's Lighting Africa Program has chosen five products it believes can bring light to poor and rural communities in Africa.

Lighting Africa is a joint program of the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank. The initiative aims to support the development of modern energy and lighting solutions for people in sub-Saharan Africa living without access to an electricity grid.

At the second annual International Business Conference and Trade Fair this week in Kenya, the program held its first competition to identify the best off-grid lighting systems in production.

The competition is designed to encourage market alternatives to kerosene lighting for communities in Africa without access to electricity.

According to the Program, More than 500-million Africans lack regular access to electricity. In addition to the health and safety risks, the kerosene used by the majority to light their homes proves a significant financial burden for communities struggling with poverty.

Lighting Africa estimates people in these communities spend anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of their incomes on kerosene, amounting annually to around $10-billion across the continent.

Entrants in the competition were judged by a panel of experts in five categories: Room Lighting, Task Lighting, Portable Torch Lighting, Best Value and Top Performance. The recipient of the Best Value award was the Firefly from Barefoot Power. The Firefly is a 12-volt LED lamp that can provide light for up to six hours on a fully charged battery.

The Best Value category was a critical component of the overall competition. To qualify for the designation all products were priced at under $40, making them accessible to poorer consumers.

The program manager for Lighting Africa, Patrick Avato, says although $40 is a large sum of money for the majority of Africans, the saving of fuel makes these products more affordable in the long term.

"The money they are currently spending on Kerosene is huge. Five to $10 a month is really a very typical kind of expenditure on Kerosene," Avato said. "So, while the upfront cost of a modern lighting product is higher, the repayments through the savings of Kerosene can actually make the product economically attractive in a matter of months. Microfinance can really help to address this by allowing consumers to pay over time."

Lighting Africa is exploring ways in which providing small loans to community groups can help pay for the systems.

The program also hopes to eventually bring down the cost of these products, which Avato says retail for half as much in developing nations such as India. Lighting Africa plans to work with African countries to eliminate trade inefficiencies, such as tariffs, to make modern lighting more attractive to exporters and consumers alike.

The five winners of the competition have earned the right to market their products with the Lighting Africa seal of approval and will take part in an educational campaign to encourage the use of modern lighting technology over more fuel-based systems. The campaign will target consumers in Ghana and Kenya before expanding to the rest of Africa.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid