The whole of Sub-Saharan Africa spends US$10.5 billion each year on low-quality, fuel-based lighting. This is because 70% of Africa remains unconnected to the power grid. These low-quality and fuel-based lighting includes kerosene and candles.
The World Bank has now launched an initiative program dubbed Lighting Africa, which seeks to help the Africans not yet connected to the grid get safe, clean, affordable off-grid lighting. This will, to a great extent, help in advancing education and improve livelihood around homes. This will also help people who recharge and sell these lamps earn a livelihood.
World Bank’s Africa Renewable Energy Access Program (AFREA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are supporting this program, whose long term goal of the Lighting Africa program is to have 250 million people access these lamps by 2030.
The average person in Rwanda will, according to World Bank, spend 15 percent of their average incomes on candles and kerosene. Already, HIV affected women in the country are getting US$13.50 per day in recharging and selling the lamps. This helps them pay for school fees and buy food products for example.
After successful initiation in Kenya and Ghana, the program is now seeking to extend in Mali and Senegal. Kenya has seen a decrease in the retailing prices of lighting products over the last five years.
There is also an attempt to expand the program to cover industrial and larger customer demands other than sticking to merely lighting and cell phone charging. The extensions would include having multiple lights, power storage units, and power control units. These would include having kits to charge laptops, power TVs, fans, radios and other appliances.