Posted by Agwu Okojogho, Umuahia | 14 March 2015 | 3,991 times
A joint initiative to help about 90 million Nigerians not connected to the national grid to have access to affordable, clean and safer lighting was Thursday unveiled in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State.
The three-year programme, a joint initiative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank is targeted at rural area with low incomes and no access to electricity, especially the national grid.
The modern off-grid lighting initiative, christened Lighting Africa, promotes the use of solar-powered lamps which derives its energy from the sun is economical and poses no health and environmental hazards to users.
Lighting Africa is a key component of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) which also supports the World Bank's Energy Business Plan and it is private-sector driven.
According to statistics, the Nigeria Programme of Lighting Africa targets 19 million households and about 22 million Nigerians who are connected to the national grid but are underserved.
Lighting Africa Programme Manager, Itotia Njagi, said during the event that about 25 per cent of the world population are not connected to electricity, adding that sub-Saharan Africa has the largest population.
Ngaji noted that this trend would change when people embrace the programme, adding that Lighting Africa which started in 2007 with the objective of enabling 250 million people to access.
Off-grid energy services through solar powered products and systems by 2030, has recorded huge successes in many countries, including Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia. The programme, he said, has been launched in 12 African countries.
The Nigeria Programme Manager, Allwel Nwankwo, noted that solar powered lights were economical than generating sets, kerosene lanterns and rechargeable lamps, stressing that it has the advantage of being used in rural areas without negative health implications.
Nwankwo said apart from lighting, efforts were in top gear to manufacture systems that could power all household appliances such as refrigerators and television sets, among others.
He said with 46 per cent of the 174 million Nigerians below 15 years of age, there was a huge market for solar lights, adding that those who identify with the solar lights business would receive adequate support.
Nwankwo also said that Lighting Africa was complementary to the renewable energy programme of the federal government.
It was gathered that Lighting Africa which is creating markets for solar lighting products have selected eight manufacturers whose products have passed the standard tests prescribed by the world bodies sponsoring the projects.
Highlights of the Aba event, the second after the programme launch in Lagos, included value chain presentation, unfolding of consumer education strategy and presentations by manufacturers who also mounted exhibitions.
•Photo shows solar light facility.
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