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Lighting Africa Policy Briefs Discuss Barriers, Propose Recommendations for Six African Nations

Lighting Africa22 October 2012: Lighting Africa, a market development programme implemented by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, has published policy briefs examining barriers to the adoption of modern lighting products and services and recommendations for their mitigation in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania. Stakeholder consultations across the lighting supply chain helped inform the assessments.

The policy briefs identify key barriers that cut across most countries, including: low purchasing power among target off-grid lighting markets and households; low priority of off-grid technologies among consumers or lack of recognition of off-grid lighting products; and low quality products in the marketplace. In Cameroon and Senegal, the high cost of doing business was noted as a key barrier. The large size of Tanzania and weak economic activity in remote many areas has prevented the installation of an electric grid and other infrastructure.

Several briefs pointed to slow government processes as hindering the adoption of modern lighting products, including in Ethiopia and Tanzania. In the DRC, the government has been slow to adopt the Electricity Code. Cameroon's policy framework does not encourage the use of clean technologies, which corresponds to an absence of incentives for off-grid lighting. The policy brief on Ghana noted policy discrimination against modern off-grid lighting products.

Common recommendations of the policy briefs include: increase awareness and education; enhance political participation; address product quality issues; ensure high quality products are available and affordable; and subsidize those at the bottom of the pyramid. It is recommended that the DRC, Ghana, and Ethiopia create enabling environments for private sector participation.

Each policy brief includes: a national energy sector overview; a list of relevant government agencies; national Lighting Africa activities; lighting options and sources; status and future of off-grid lighting; policies and institutional environment for modern off-grid lighting; comparisons between rural and urban areas; and conclusions and recommendations.

Lighting Africa is a market development programme supporting the creation and expansion of markets for clean, efficient, modern lighting in Africa and is implemented by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. [Policy Documents]