Nearly 600 million people in Africa â€“ about 70 percent of the population â€“ lack electricity and rely on expensive and polluting lighting sources such as kerosene lamps and candles. Thanks to Lighting Africa, close to 1.5 million people have cleaner, safer, better lighting.
With the population growth fast outdoing the electrical grid expansion, many Africans will not know electrification in their lifetime. But alternative, modern off-grid lighting products can provide an immediate solution: In 2011, the sales of quality off-grid lighting products in Africa registered a 450% growth over 2010.
Lighting Africa has contributed to this market transformation by removing market obstacles for several players:
Manufacturers and distributors can now test lighting products locally in a testing lab at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, using Lighting Africa low-cost initial screening method. The lab is the first of its kind in East Africa to offer testing of off-grid lighting products as a commercial service.
Consumers are better equipped to make buying decisions with Lighting Africa consumer education campaign, explaining the benefits of clean off-grid lighting having reached 11 million people in rural Kenya and 675,000 in Ghana.
Importers, retailers and consumers can assess which products live up to their expectations: Lighting Africa publishes the performance of the products tested by the program on this website in detailed, comparable and free specification sheets.
Consumers have a larger choice of quality products, with a total of 15 products which have passed the full set of Lighting Africa quality tests. To address the upfront costs bottleneck for consumers, Lighting Africa has reached out to MFIs to provide consumer finance. Three MFIs in Kenya and two in Ghana are actively providing finance to consumers in rural areas.
Governments can benefit from Lighting Africa advice on how to make modern off-grid lighting an integral part of their energy access expansion programs.
The program works to increase energy access for and provide better lighting to 2.5 million people by 2012 and 250 million by 2030.