Accra, Ghana, May 8, 2008—The World
Bank Group has selected 16 companies and organizations as winners of the
Development Marketplace competition for their innovative products or services
tailored to Sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid lighting market. The winners
will receive up to $200,000 to implement projects that offer affordable,
clean, and safe off-grid lighting and that improve access to lighting for
people living without electricity across the region.
The winners were selected from among
52 competitors, and their projects were judged using five criteria: innovation,
measurability of outcomes, organizational and financial sustainability,
growth potential, and realism. They will use the funds to implement their
projects in several African countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
“The ideas and concepts presented during
this competition were far beyond our expectations, and this level of innovation
and creativity is exactly what Africa needs. We are looking forward to
seeing the winners implement their projects,” said Anil Cabraal, World
Bank Lead Energy Specialist.
One of the winning projects will use
cassava waste to produce biogas for lighting about 2,250 rural homes. Another
project introduced a revolutionary type of energy efficient solar cell
product for light emitting diodes that can also be used as a mobile phone
and energy charger and a source of energy for radio. The people’s choice
award went to a project that aims to use the Savings and Credit Cooperative
Societies, a network of solar technicians in Tanzania, and reasonably priced
solar systems to reach remote areas.
“This has been one the most fruitful
Development Marketplace competitions. All of the finalists were able to
meet with businesses and NGOs that are relevant to their day-to-day activities.
This will help broaden their reach and impact,” said Monika Weber-Fahr,
IFC Manager for the Sustainable Business Innovator.
The competition took place during Lighting
Africa 2008, the first global business conference for off-grid lighting
in Africa, held in Accra, Ghana, from May 6 to 8, 2008. The conference
is part of the World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa program, which aims
to mobilize the private sector to provide modern off-grid lighting to more
than 250 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2030.
Broadcast Quality Video
A three-minute video illustrating the
lighting challenge in Africa is available for download. Please contact
Mehreen Arshad Sheikh at +1 (202) 458-7336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos are available on the Lighting
Africa Web site under “media kit” at:
Contact information for the winners
is available upon request.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the
opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed
$8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications
and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries.
IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org,
the World Bank at www.worldbank.org, or the Lighting Africa initiative
About the World Bank’s Development
Development Marketplace is a competitive
grant program that funds innovative, small-scale development projects.
These projects not only deliver results, but also have the potential to
be expanded or replicated elsewhere. Since its inception in 1998, the program
has awarded over $50 million to roughly 1,000 projects through global,
regional, and country-level marketplaces. For more information, visit www.developmentmarketplace.org.