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Private sector to light up a third of households without access to the grid by 2020

Dubai, UAE, October 29, 2015—The off-grid lighting and household electrification sector will help light up close to 100 million homes by 2020, according to market trends presented at the 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference, organized by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and the World Bank Group (WBG), in Dubai, UAE this week.

The event showcased global efforts to improve energy access for those without reliable, grid-based electricity by promoting clean, quality off-grid lighting solutions. To date, the industry has helped customers save around $3 billion in outgoings such as kerosene and batteries, according to WBG and GOGLA-collected data presented at the event. Since the first conference in Ghana in 2008, when the industry was just taking off, more than 15 million solar lighting and electrification products have been sold, reaching 66 million people.

Findings from a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, due for release in January 2016, also highlight how investors have taken note and pumped almost a quarter of a billion dollars into the sector in the past two years alone, with emerging pay-as-you-go business models gaining particular traction.

In just the last week, five GOGLA member companies announced newly raised investments at a combined total of $59 million, which will be used to provide new lighting solutions for hundreds of thousands. Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA noted: “This was the first year the conference was held outside of Africa, signifying that the industry is coming of age. By building key partnerships, securing the right financing, the right policies, and ensuring product quality, I am confident we can deliver access to basic electricity to the 1.3 billion people who currently live without it.”
Russell Sturm, Global Head of IFC’s Energy Access and WBG’s Lighting Global program said: “The World Bank Group played a key role in identifying this new market, working with the private sector to develop it, and is now enabling its scale-up as commercial investors come to the table. The impact of this sector will undoubtedly be transformational.”
The conference was attended by around 500 key players from around the world, including investors, entrepreneurs, government representatives, and technology leaders. Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus delivered the  keynote address via video link, highlighting the role of social business models in delivering energy access at scale.

Grant Shapps, UK Minister of State for International Development, stressed that the time to invest in off-grid solar lighting is now, as the industry is maturing to become a vibrant commercial market. He added that such investments will have an enormous impact on development.

Click here for more quotes from the conference.

About the event
This event is the centerpiece of the international off-grid lighting community’s efforts to chart the business-driven route to improved energy access for those lacking access to reliable, grid-based electricity. In recent years this industry has been exploding with new product innovations, improving service and affordability, and rapidly evolving business models enabling millions of people to climb the energy access ladder at unprecedented rates.

The 4th of these conferences (running from 26 to 29 October 2015) has been held in Dubai — the hub for a new global industry serving Asian, African, and other markets. The event has attracted a range of industry players and financial service providers. Representatives ranging from manufacturers, distributors, investors, governments, donors and academia have convened to exchange lessons on the best ways to deliver energy access quickly and efficiently using business-driven models. Over 40 businesses have exhibited products and services that transform lives by offering a cleaner, more affordable and sustainable means of lighting and powering homes. Specific sessions examined topics such as addressing energy challenges in humanitarian crises, measuring the impacts of investments, and using microcredit and mobile payment solutions to make products more affordable and accessible to end-users.  

The Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) is a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association, created to promote lighting solutions that benefit society and businesses in developing and emerging markets. GOGLA acts as the industry advocate and supports the industry in growing and strengthening the market for clean, quality off-grid lighting and electrical systems. Its main objective is to support industry in scaling the sector based on the principles of the triple bottom line, thus contributing to the objectives of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About the World Bank Group and Lighting Global
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s platform to support the development of commercial markets for modern energy services for the more than 1.2 billion people in the world without access to electricity.  

Media contacts
World Bank Group: Emmanouela (Emmy) Markoglou, +1 202 280 3734,
GOGLA: Anna Wells, +44 7971 799390,