The Lighting Africa program has done an exceptional job in building the foundation of the off-grid market space and will help propel the African continent to achieve universal access for all. Charles Feinstein, Director of Energy and Extractives Global Practice, The World Bank
The World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa program has set itself the ambitious and important target of enabling more than 250 million people across sub-Saharan Africa currently living without electricity to gain access to clean, affordable, quality-verified off-grid lighting and energy products by 2030. Our aim is to achieve this by catalyzing the market through a number of different activities across the supply chain:
Lighting Africa conducts market research and publishes reports on the findings, demonstrating the extensive opportunities presented by the off-grid market in sub-Saharan Africa and providing critical data to help manufacturers, distributors and retailers to make informed business decisions.
A cornerstone of the Lighting Africa program is our dedication to quality. The purchase of an off-grid lighting product or Solar Home System can represent a significant investment for a family in sub-Saharan Africa, and consumers simply can’t afford to purchase something that doesn’t work well or won’t last. In order to protect consumers from poor-quality products and prevent the eroding of consumer confidence in off-grid products in the process, we developed a series of Quality Standards and testing methods. The coordination and testing of these Quality Standards has been moved to our partners, VeraSol.
Access to finance all along the supply chain has been identified as a critical need for the functioning and growth of the off-grid lighting and solar home system (SHS) market. From distributors who need working capital to hold adequate product stocks, to consumers needing credit to make a purchase, Lighting Africa facilitates and leverages financial products to help provide the capital that is needed.
For the off-grid lighting products and solar home system market to grow and thrive, consumers need to be aware of the advantages that these products provide over fuel-based sources. To educate potential end-users on the many benefits of quality off-grid lighting and energy products, Lighting Africa produces consumer education materials and conducts consumer education campaigns in partnership with manufacturers and distributors.
The off-grid lighting market has been typified by remarkable innovation and novelty, and largely driven by social entrepreneurs. Lighting Africa provides advice to players in this sector on best business practices, corporate governance and risk management, while supporting innovative business models that expand energy access at the base of the pyramid (BOP).
Lighting Africa also works with governments towards removing policy and regulatory market entry barriers in order to increase access to clean energy, and to foster a vibrant competitive market for off-grid energy products. We also work with governments to integrate modern off-grid energy products into their rural electrification programs.