Friday, 5 October 2007

Lighting Africa

The population in Africa makes up approximately 17% of the world total, but the continent generates only 6% of the world's total energy.

Anyone living in rural Africa, as hundreds of millions of people do, is unlikely to have electricity. Lighting is probably provided by kerosene lamps and the fuel, apart from being highly polluting, will cost in the region of 10% of income for the poorest households.

There have been all sorts of efforts to produce power in rural areas, windmills, solar power, water power, but connecting remote villages to a grid network will take time. The Freeplay Organisation does produce some freestanding illumination which uses "wind up" technology.

The World Bank has launched a competition to provide the "design and delivery of low cost, high quality, non-fossil fuel-based lighting products targeting low income consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa". The 10-20 winners will receive grants of up to $200,000.

From and The Economist (worth reading).

1 comment:

  1. What a fantatic initiative. I've always wondered about the limitations of developed nations - with things already built up, it takes a toll when it comes to new inventions due to the former infrastructures already in place, which makes it harder to rip out if it's in the way and tends to make people a little more complacent about new things that could serve/deliver much better and more efficiently.


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