The joint IFC-World Bank 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. Lighting Africa’s 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 IFC-World Bank Lighting Africa program is Lighting Africa’s 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 and prevent the eroding of consumer confidence in off-grid products in the process, Lighting Africa developed a series of Quality Standards and testing methods. As Lighting Africa’s program has been replicated in other geographies, the coordination and testing of these Quality Standards has been moved to Lighting Global.
Access to Finance
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 benefits 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.
Business Development Support
The off-grid lighting market has been typified by remarkable innovation and novelty, and is 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).
Regulatory and Policy Dialogue
The program 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. In addition, Lighting Africa works with governments to integrate modern off-grid energy products into rural electrification programs.
Lighting Africa is part of the World Bank Group’s contribution to Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). It is implemented in partnership with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the governments of Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
For more details on any of the Lighting Africa country programs, or to learn more about Lighting Africa, please go to the dedicated website, on www.lightingafrica.org.