News / Africa

    Competition Aims to Bring Light to Africans Off the Grid

    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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora