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IFC / World Bank Report: 65 million in Africa could access solar lighting by 2015


In Nairobi
Bénédicte Walter
Phone: +254 73 76 71 714
E-mail: bwalter@ifc.org

Nairobi, Kenya, November 12, 2010 ¯ A report published recently by the joint IFC/World Bank Lighting Africa Program found that Africa will be the world’s largest market for solar portable lights by 2015 with up to 65 million people who could access safe and clean off-grid lighting over the next five years. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.



The report, Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid – Overview of an Emerging Market that Lighting Africa, provides a snapshot and projects trends in the solar portable lighting market in Africa, where millions still rely on expensive, often ineffective, and sometimes dangerous fuel-based lighting, such as kerosene lamps.

The report found that the market potential in Africa for solar portable lights is enormous and ripe for investment. The findings indicate a 40 to 50 percent compounded annual growth rate in sales volume – or a total of 13 million solar portable lights – by 2015. Current market penetration is only at 0.5 percent of the under-electrified and under-electrified African population.

Arthur Itotia Njagi, Lighting Africa’s Program Manager, said, “We have developed tools to test the quality of solar portable lights, get more quality and affordable lights on the market, and counter market spoilage by inferior products. This will accelerate the access to better lighting for low-income households.”

Lighting Africa is helping build a market to bring off-grid lighting to millions of people across Africa by investing in consumer education, tackling access to finance bottlenecks, creating a favorable investment climate, exploring innovative business distribution models, and establishing quality standards.

Technological advancements and innovative products and business models have vastly improved the quality of solar portable lights over the past five years, making them more affordable to low-income buyers and better suited to consumer needs.

By converting from kerosene to clean energy, millions of consumers can improve their health, reduce their spending on expensive fuels, and, ultimately, benefit from better illumination and more productive time in their homes, schools and businesses.

The Lighting Africa report gathered input from a broad range of industry experts, manufacturers, distributors and civil society organizations in over ten African markets. It will become a bi-yearly publication.

To download the report or order a hard copy, click here.

Lighting Africa, a joint IFC and World Bank program, seeks to accelerate the development of commercial off-grid lighting markets in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the World Bank Group’s wider efforts to improve access to energy. Lighting Africa is helping mobilize the private sector to build sustainable markets to provide 2.5 million people with safe, affordable, and modern off-grid lighting by 2012. The longer-term goal is to eliminate market barriers for the private sector to reach 250 million people in Africa without electricity, and using fuel based lighting, by 2030. Improved lighting provides significant socio-economic, health and environmental benefits such as new income generation opportunities for small businesses. Lighting Africa contributes to the goals of the Clean Energy Ministerial. For more information, please visit http://www.lightingafrica.org.

Lighting Africa is implemented in partnership with the Africa Renewable Energy and Access Grants Program (AFREA), the Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Program (ASTAE), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Good Energies Inc., Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the United States.