Competition for the Design and Delivery of Innovative Lighting Products in Africa

The World Bank Group recently launched an initiative to provide modern lighting to the 250 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who have no access to electricity. Ten to twenty winners will receive grant funding up to $200,000.

Johannesburg, October 3, 2007 - The World Bank Group recently launched an initiative to provide modern lighting to the 250 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who have no access to electricity. Jointly managed by the World Bank and IFC, Lighting Africa aims to develop market conditions for the supply and distribution of new, non-fossil fuel lighting products, such as fluorescent light bulbs and light emitting diodes, in rural and urban areas of the region that are not connected to the electricity grid.

The Lighting Africa initiative includes a grant competition managed by The Development Marketplace team of the World Bank Group entitled "Innovations in Off-Grid Lighting Products and Services for Africa." The competition will reward project ideas that address the various off-grid lighting needs of Sub-Saharan Africa, including alternative distribution models, new clean lighting technology, stronger production chains, and improvement of the policy environment.

Ten to twenty winners will receive grant funding up to $200,000.

The competition is open to a broad range of innovators around the world, including private businesses, nongovernmental organizations, universities, government entities and individuals.

The Development Marketplace competition is sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and Good Energies, Inc.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 23:00 GMT on October 31, 2007.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Lighting Africa Web site at:


The "energy poor" in Africa spend about $17 billion a year on fuel-based lighting sources, such as kerosene lamps, that are costly, inefficient, and provide poor quality light while polluting and posing fire hazards. For these consumers, lighting is often the most expensive item among their energy uses, typically accounting for 10 to 15 percent of total household income. Hence there is a potentially huge market for modern lighting products that are safe and reliable, that provide higher-quality light, and that are cost-competitive with fuel-based lamps, and powered by renewable energy or mechanical sources.

About the World Bank
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, with the mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. It is not a bank in the common sense. It is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in this mission. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together, they provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications, and many other purposes. By doing so, the World Bank concentrates on building the climate for investment, jobs and sustainable growth, so that economies will grow, and investing in and empowering poor people to participate in development. For more information, please visit

About Development Marketplace
The World Bank's Development Marketplace (DM) is a competitive grant program that funds innovative, small-scale development projects. These projects not only deliver results, but also have the potential to be expanded or replicated elsewhere. Since its inception in 1998, DM has awarded over US$50 million to roughly 1000 projects through global, regional and country-level Marketplaces. For more information, please visit

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