In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 500 million people presently lack modern energy, with rural electricity access rates as low as 2%. Among the poor, lighting is often the most expensive item among their energy uses, typically accounting for 10-15% of total household income. Yet, while consuming a large share of scarce income, fuel-based lighting provides little in return.
Lighting Africa, a World Bank Group initiative, hopes to change that; the competition aims to find a design and implement the delivery of low-cost, green lighting products for low-income consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. Acronyms familiar to TreeHugger's audience, like CFL and LED, will play a big part, along with other forward-looking, off-grid technologies. Says the site, "With expenditures on fuel based lighting estimated at US$38 billion annually, the potential exists to engage the international lighting industry in this new market area, while serving consumers, bolstering local commerce, creating jobs, enhancing incomes, cleaning the air, and improving health, safety, and quality of life." The competition is looking for innovations from five different groups, from designs and manufacturers to governments and NGOs; check out their site for all the details. ::Lighting Africa via ::Core77