World Bank, IFC unveil off-grid lighting solution for Nigeria

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By Adewale Sanyaolu

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have unveiled an off-grid solar power solution for Nigeria tagged Lighting Africa.
Lighting Africa mobilises the private sector to build sustainable markets that provide affordable, modern solar lighting products to families that are not connected to grid electricity
The initiative, according to the Consultant, IFC/World Bank Market Development for Lighting Africa Project, Mr. Fanen Acho, is aimed at bridging the huge gap in the area of access to power while also helping to increase access to affordable, clean and safer lighting for more Nigerians living in rural areas and have low incomes.
In Nigeria, he said the World Bank and IFC have financed and certified some companies to bring in solar powered lamps which will now be handed over to distributors for final sale to the end users.
Acho, however, cautioned that the initiative is not a save-the-poor programme and a subsidised scheme, but strictly a market that is expected to evolve on its own through demand for the products, especially when consumers are able to see the benefits inherent in solar power compared to the use of dirty fuels
According to him, Lighting Africa mobilises the private sector to build and develop markets that enable access to clean, affordable, quality lighting products by fostering partnerships among local and global manufacturers and creating new channels through local distribution companies that will help build robust supply chains for off-grid lighting products.
He explained that Lighting Africa is helping to build a market to bring off-grid lighting and energy services across Africa by establishing quality standards, investing in consumer education, creating a favourable investment climate and supporting innovative business models.
‘‘As we foster these partnerships among all parties in the industry, various opportunities would be explored and our goal of inclusive electrification would be achieved in Nigeria,” he said
Acho disclosed that the expansion of the Lighting Africa programme to Nigeria supports the World Bank Group’s Energy Business Plan.
Under the Energy Business Plan, each World Bank Group institution will leverage its competencies and products to provide solutions to projects that encourage their viability and contribute to the sustainability of Nigeria’s power sector to underpin government’s ambitious privatisation and reform programme.
“Part of the World Bank Group’s targeted interventions in the power sector include off-grid solutions that make access to power more inclusive. These solutions, mostly solar powered, will reduce the hazards of using fuel-based energy resources, improve the climate and accelerate development in Nigeria,” he said
Lighting Africa is a key component of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Clean Energy Ministerial is a global forum where best practices are shared, and policies and programmes encouraging and facilitating transition to a clean global energy economy are promoted.

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