Washington, D.C., May 2, 2008 —
More than 500 representatives of the lighting industry, governments, and
nongovernmental organizations are meeting in Ghana, from May 6 to 8, 2008,
for the Lighting Africa 2008 conference. The event, the first global
business conference for off-grid lighting in Africa, is part of the World
Bank Group’s Lighting Africa program. The goal is to mobilize the
private sector to provide modern off-grid lighting – such as Light Emitting
Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) - to more than 250 million
people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.
The conference provides a forum for international and local lighting industry
entrepreneurs to learn more about the emerging off-grid lighting market
in Sub-Saharan Africa and innovations in the field, while also developing
strategic business partnerships.
“Increasing access to affordable and clean lighting is essential to Africa’s
development. Waiting for an expansion of the electricity grid is not an
option, given today’s energy concerns. The region’s lighting needs are
critical and require innovation and alternative business models,” said
Anil Cabraal, World Bank Lead Energy Specialist.
Fuel prices are soaring in Africa and access to electricity remains limited
to only 26 percent of the population. To help address the energy crisis
and respond to consumer needs, the World Bank Group is mobilizing the global
lighting industry and helping entrepreneurs innovate and develop off-grid
non-fuel based lighting solutions, while reducing barriers that interfere
with the private sector’s efforts to penetrate the market.
“We expect the Lighting Africa conference to expose some of the many business
opportunities in the Sub-Saharan off-grid lighting market. By building
a coalition between all parties in the industry, we hope to reduce hurdles
and perceived uncertainties that accompany the development of a market
as undiscovered as this one,” said Monika Weber-Fahr, IFC Manager of the
Sustainability Business Innovator Group.
Conference highlights will include:
· A Development Marketplace grant competition
for the most innovative off-grid lighting solutions and business models.
Companies will compete for about 20 awards of up to $200,000 each.
· The unveiling of pilot market research in
Ghana and Kenya that will provide critical market and consumer information
to entrepreneurs and investors. Research is also being conducted in Ethiopia,
Tanzania, and Zambia.
· A trade fair where more than 50 lighting
businesses will exhibit their innovative products.
Lead sponsors include the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program,
the Global Environment Facility, and the Public-Private Infrastructure
Advisory Facility. Other supporters include Good Energies Inc.; the governments
of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom; the European
Commission; and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership.
Broadcast Quality Video
To obtain a three-minute broadcast video illustrating the lighting problems
in Africa, please contact Mehreen Arshad Sheikh at +1 (202) 458-7336 or
Photos illustrating the lighting problems in Africa and proposed alternatives
by Lighting Africa are available on the Web site under “media kit”
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 should 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 IFC at www.ifc.org
, the World Bank at www.worldbank.org
, and the Development Marketplace at www.developmentmarketplace.org
About Lighting Africa
Lighting Africa is a World Bank Group program launched in September 2007
to catalyze better access to modern lighting services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Its goal is catalytic: to mobilize the private sector to reach 250 million
energy-poor customers by 2030 with low-cost, reliable, affordable lighting
services as part of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Lighting
Africa seeks to achieve four objectives: improved low-cost lighting technology
and product innovation; stronger private sector capacity for manufacturing,
marketing, and distribution supply chains; better affordability; and lowering
of transaction costs while mitigating risks. Lighting Africa aims to help
offer better alternatives for consumers that spend $40 billion annually
on costly, inefficient, poor-quality, polluting, fossil fuel-based lighting
products, a category dominated by kerosene lanterns that typically account
for 10 to 30 percent of household expenses in Sub-Saharan Africa. For more
information, visit www.lightingafrica.org.