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Lighting Africa is a key part of the global Solar and LED Energy Access program, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum that encourages the transition to a clean global energy economy.

Small businesses can extend their working hours with better lighting

© Lighting Africa 2010

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) • The United States.

Key results to date Since 2007, over 190,000 solar portable lamps which had passed Lighting Africa quality tests were sold in Africa, providing more than 950,000 people with cleaner, safer, better lighting and improved energy access. Eight products have so far passed Lighting Africa quality tests and are available in the African market, retailing between $22 and $97. Since February 2011, the first testing lab in East Africa is offering testing of off-grid lighting products as a commercial service to manufacturers and distributors. The lab, at the University of Nairobi, uses Lighting Africa’s low-cost initial screening method. The Lighting Africa International Conference and Trade Fair in 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together over 600 participants from over 50 countries and resulted in business partnerships between manufacturers and distributors of lighting products. The governments of Ethiopia, Mali, and Senegal signed agreements with Lighting Africa to integrate lighting services into their rural energy programs. Lighting Africa has established the Lighting Africa Outstanding Products Awards which provide increased recognition and visibility to particularly good offgrid lighting products. Eight awards were given for best room lighting performance, best task lighting performance, best portable torch light, best economic value, and top performer overall.

For further information visit contact us at or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. © Lighting Africa, May 2011

Proper lighting is a basic need, the absence of which hinders social and economic development. Yet throughout the African continent, hundreds of millions rely on candlelight or kerosene lamps. These lighting sources are expensive, inefficient and pollute the environment. There are alternatives to fuel-based lighting for people not yet connected to the electricity grid. Modern, clean off-grid lighting can raise the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. Recent advances in compact fluorescent and light-emitting diodes lamps promise clean, durable, and high-quality solutions. Today, solar and other lighting products offer better illumination, longer battery life, and features such as cell phone chargers. They are also becoming increasingly affordable for low-income households. Africans spend an estimated $10.5 billion on kerosene for lighting annually. This represents a vast, largely untapped opportunity for the off-grid lighting sector. However, this emerging market for off-grid products is hard to penetrate. Manufacturers struggle to find business partners, and financial institutions not familiar with the industry are unable to exploit the market’s growth potential. In addition, end users have not yet embraced the new technologies, and low-quality products undermine consumer confidence. Lighting Africa works as a catalyst to make quality off-grid lighting products accessible to energy-poor households in several regions of the continent. The program has already been piloted in Kenya and Ghana, and is expanding to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Mali, with the potential to grow further still. Brighter, cleaner, and safe lighting for the family

© Lighting Africa 2010

Why Lighting Africa?

Nearly 600 million people in Africa – about 70 percent of the population – lack electricity. Unless current trends are reversed, about 700 million Africans – most of them in rural areas – will be living without electricity by 2030.

Manufacturers and distributors

A poster used for the consumer education campaign in Kenya


Lighting Africa, a joint IFC and World Bank program, is mobilizing the private sector to build sustainable markets that provide safe, affordable and modern off-grid lighting to Africa’s un-electrified communities. The program works to increase energy access for and provide better lighting to 2.5 million people by 2012 and 250 million by 2030.

For the market to grow, consumers must have confidence in the technology and appreciate its benefits. Lighting Africa runs education campaigns that help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, and showcases products that have passed Lighting Africa quality tests. Students doing homework under a solar portable light

Modern lighting can: Extend the working day of small businesses, helping to increase income, and improve working conditions; Promote education by expanding time for studying; Improve health by reducing indoor air pollution; Improve safety by reducing the fire hazard associated with flammable fuels; Generate savings on the energy spending; Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What does Lighting Africa do? Lighting Africa lowers entry barriers to the off-grid lighting market, from the design of lighting products to their production and distribution. The program: Establishes quality standards; Supports product development; Educates consumers on the benefits of solar lighting products; Supports the creation of a favorable investment climate; Offers business and market development support to new players; Attracts new companies to the market; Supports governments in integrating off-grid lighting products and services into their energy access programs.

What is Lighting Africa’s approach? The program works with product manufacturers and distributors, consumers, financial institutions, development partners, and governments to help build markets for reliable off-grid lighting products. © Lighting Africa 2010

Lighting Africa partners with manufacturers and distributors committed to quality products and attracts new companies to the market. Lighting Africa reduces the risks for new entrants by providing them with market intelligence and linking them to business partners. Lighting Africa supports its clients to improve product performance, establish supply chains, and access finance to scale up supply.

© Jamie Seno/Lighting Africa 2010

Financial institutions Limited access to finance restricts the replication and scale-up of viable business models. However, this gap also represents an attractive market opportunity for financial institutions. Lighting Africa offers market insights to help financial institutions better assess markets and capitalize on opportunities. In partnership with local banks, the program also provides trade finance facilities for distributors and retailers.

Governments Policy and regulatory barriers can impede market growth for off-grid lighting. Lighting Africa works with governments in Sub-Saharan Africa to create a favorable policy and regulatory environment and integrate lowcost, off-grid solutions into their rural and informal settlement electrification plans.

what is lighting africa’s approach  

Lighting Africa, a joint IFC and World Bank program, is helping develop commercial off-grid lighting markets in Sub-Saharan Africa as part o...

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