World Bank Launches Lighting Initiative
Sep 9, 2007 - Planet Ark
The World Bank launched an plan on Wednesday to
provide inexpensive, safe and cleaner lighting to
250 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who lack
access to electricity. The project is designed to
replace costly and inefficient fuel-based lighting
sources, such as kerosene lamps, that pose fire hazards
and cause pollution.
The initiative, also being managed by the International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private
sector lending arm, aims to supply cheap lighting
to the region's "energy poor".
Some of the products to be distributed in the region
include small battery- and solar-powered lighting
systems that the IFC said would be affordable to the
"The idea behind the initiative is that people will
get useful light with little power input. We intend
to match the product to the affordability of the market,"
said Russell Sturm, head of the IFC's sustainable
Decades of underinvestment in electricity networks
and growing populations mean many people in the region
have no access to electric power.
"It's an ambitious idea, it's an ambitous project
but the logic behind it is quite easy to understand
... 500 million people in Africa are spending about
US$17 billion on bad lighting," said Rachel Kyte,
director of the Environmental and Social Development
Department of the IFC.
Aside from donors, the World Bank hopes to attract
companies to support the project.