Today, there are 1.2 billion people worldwide living without access to the power grid and modern energy services. About half of these people reside in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Collectively, they spend about US$27 billion each year on lighting and mobile phone charging with kerosene, candles, battery torches or other fossil fuel-powered technologies. These traditional solutions are expensive, harmful to health, hazardous and polluting. They resign the poorest people on the planet to a life of energy poverty which constrains economic development and impedes access to education, livelihood development, health, and basic services including communications, water, and transport.

Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable growth of the international off-grid solar market as a means of rapidly increasing energy access to the 1.2 billion people without grid electricity. Through Lighting Global, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank work with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), manufacturers, distributors, and other development partners to develop the modern off-grid energy market. The Lighting Global program supports market development by working with private companies to lower first-mover risk and mobilize private sector investment through market intelligence, quality assurance, business support services and consumer education.

To date, more than 131 million people have benefited from using Lighting Global quality verified solar lighting products, and more than 39.5 million people have had their basic (Tier 1) lighting needs met. More than 26 million quality verified products have been sold since 2008, and in 2016 alone, more than 1.75 million tons of GHG has been avoided due to the use of quality verified products instead of kerosene. Learn more about our impact. The strength of the Lighting Global program comes from a programmatic approach addressing specific needs across the supply chain. The program toolkit includes:

  • Quality Assurance: We created an international quality standard for affordable solar-powered devices and solar home systems, and we also advise manufacturers on the quality standards.
  • Market Intelligence: We provide market intelligence that lowers the cost and risk for first movers entering frontier markets.
  • Access to Finance: We facilitate access to finance for manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers.
  • Business Development: We address impediments to the market’s development, and work with individual firms to scale their businesses, providing on-the-ground business-to-business support and linkages to build the last mile supply chain.
  • Consumer Awareness: We raise consumer awareness about emerging solar products in nascent markets.
  • Policy and Partnering with Government: We work with governments on their quality standards.

Lighting Global has been instrumental in kick-starting the off-grid lighting sector. We have had the opportunity to work with the Lighting Global team for the last ten years, starting when the industry was in its infancy, and they have always been willing to listen, provide support and take action. Ned Tozun, CEO dlight 

IFC’s work with the off-grid lighting industry began in 2008 with the launch of the Lighting Africa pilot in Kenya, and as of June 2017, Lighting Global and its related programs are active in 17 countries, with IFC country-based teams leading market development efforts in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar. In addition, the World Bank is actively engaged in adoption of the Lighting Global toolkit and in lending operations with government partners in seven additional countries, including Burkina Faso, Liberia, DRC, Mali, Senegal, South Sudan, and Uganda.

Graphic showing market development for Lighting Global