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World Bank and IFC Reward 16 Companies for Innovative Lighting Projects for Africa

The World Bank Group has selected 16 companies and organizations as winners of the Development Marketplace competition for their innovative products or services tailored to Sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid lighting market. The winners will receive up to $200,000 to implement projects that offer affordable, clean, and safe off-grid lighting and that improve access to lighting for people living without electricity across the region.
The winners were selected from among 52 competitors, and their projects were judged using five criteria: innovation, measurability of outcomes, organizational and financial sustainability, growth potential, and realism. They will use the funds to implement their projects in several African countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

“The ideas and concepts presented during this competition were far beyond our expectations, and this level of innovation and creativity is exactly what Africa needs. We are looking forward to seeing the winners implement their projects,” said Anil Cabraal, World Bank Lead Energy Specialist.

One of the winning projects will use cassava waste to produce biogas for lighting about 2,250 rural homes. Another project introduced a revolutionary type of energy efficient solar cell product for light emitting diodes that can also be used as a mobile phone and energy charger and a source of energy for radio. The people’s choice award went to a project that aims to use the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies, a network of solar technicians in Tanzania, and reasonably priced solar systems to reach remote areas.

“This has been one the most fruitful Development Marketplace competitions. All of the finalists were able to meet with businesses and NGOs that are relevant to their day-to-day activities. This will help broaden their reach and impact,” said Monika Weber-Fahr, IFC Manager for the Sustainable Business Innovator.

The competition took place during Lighting Africa 2008, the first global business conference for off-grid lighting in Africa, held in Accra, Ghana, from May 6 to 8, 2008. The conference is part of the World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa program, which aims to mobilize the private sector to provide modern off-grid lighting to more than 250 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2030.

Additional information: World Bank press release
News date: 09/05/2008

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