Lighting Africa is a joint World Bank Group program, which aims to expand access to clean, affordable, quality-verified off-grid lighting to people currently living without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The program has set the target of enabling 250 million people in the region to gain access to such products by 2030 by catalyzing the market with targeted activities all along the supply chain.
Lighting Africa is part of the World Bank Group’s contribution to Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). It is implemented in partnership with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Close to 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa – about two-thirds of the population – live without access to electricity. The majority – approximately 80% – live in rural areas where there is no grid-electricity, and expansion is largely financially and logistically infeasible.
This lack of modern energy services severely limits educational and economic opportunities, and negatively impacts day-to-day quality of life and health. Those without electricity primarily use polluting and expensive lighting sources such as kerosene lamps or candles, the fumes of which can cause serious health problems. Quality-verified off-grid lighting and solar home systems (SHS) offer a real and sustainable alternative to the off-grid population to meet their lighting needs, and often provide expanded energy services as well, such as the ability to charge a mobile phone or in some cases power a TV or a fan.
Lighting Africa expands access to modern energy sources by supporting the growth of the off-grid market through six main areas of activity:
- Market intelligence: Lighting Africa conducts market research and produces publically-available reports, which highlight extensive off-grid market opportunities and provide useful data for businesses along the supply chain.
- Quality assurance: Lighting Africa developed a series of quality standards and testing methods for pico-PV products to help to protect consumers from poor-quality products that could also erode confidence in the market as a whole. These quality standards are now managed by affiliated World Bank Group program, Lighting Global, and have been adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as a reference point for quality assurance of off-grid lighting products (IEC Technical Specification 62257-9-5).
- Access to finance: The program facilitates and leverages financial products to help provide the capital that is needed by consumers and all along the supply chain.
- Consumer education: Lighting Africa’s education materials and campaigns highlight the advantages of off-grid solar products over fuel-based sources and help the market to grow and thrive.
- Business development support: The Lighting Africa program provides advice and trainings on best business practices, corporate governance and risk management, to manufacturers and distributors, while supporting innovative approaches.
- Regulatory and policy dialogue: Lighting Africa works with governments to integrate off-grid components into their national energy access plans.
Products and technology
Lighting Africa facilitates the uptake of a variety of off-grid solar products, ranging from single-point solar systems – many with the ability to charge mobile phones - to solar home systems (SHS) that can power several lights simultaneously, and in some cases even power a TV or a fan. The products that Lighting Africa works with range from pico-products, which are defined as less than 10W, to SHS ranging from 10W to 100W. Lighting Global maintains a continuously updated list of products that meet its quality standards.
Nearly 12 million quality-verified products have been sold since Lighting Africa kicked-off its first program in Kenya in 2009. Lighting Global’s quality standards have been adopted at national and international levels. Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania have adopted (or are currently adopting) them as national standards. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, for example, has established the standards as a requirement to qualify for carbon financing.
Lighting Africa has contributed to significantly expanding access to modern off-grid energy products in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting activities in the sector all along the supply chain. Thanks to program activities, close to 16 million people in Africa are now meeting their basic electricity needs through quality-verified off-grid solar products. “Basic electricity needs” are here defined as having light for at least 1,000 lumen-hours (lmhr) / day and sufficient energy to keep a well-used mobile phone operational.
Lighting Africa is currently active in 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.
The environmental impact of displacing the kerosene lamps and other fuel-based lighting sources traditionally used by the off-grid population has been significant. To date, 1.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases have been avoided in Africa due to Lighting Africa’s activities.
- ↑ http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/resources/energydevelopment/energyaccessdatabase/
- ↑ https://energypedia.info/wiki/Market_Research_on_PicoPV_Systems_of_Lighting_Africa
- ↑ https://www.lightingafrica.org/improving-accuracy-impact-reporting-multi-tier-framework/