World Bank’s Project Empowers 12mln Ethiopians with Electricity Access

ADDIS ABEBA – Lighting Africa – a joint IFC-World Bank program – says it has created cleaner and safer off-grid lighting access to close to 12 million Ethiopians over the past four years.

The program – which kicked off in October 2015 – has been working with the private sector in creating the off-grid lighting sector to develop a commercial market for high-quality solar lanterns and kits.

Its objective was to enable access to cleaner and safer off-grid lighting for 11.8 million people by December 2019. The Program said they have managed to achieve their objective.

“Thus far, the program has successfully electrified about 12 million people with quality-verified solar technologies, trained over 300 solar technicians, Solar distributors, retailers,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

The project also reached over 20 million people with Consumer education campaigns, reads the statement.

– Govt’s Asks for more –

When the lighting Africa Project kicked off in Ethiopia in October 2015, the off-grid market was in its infancy. Only 20% of Ethiopians had access to the grid and only 5% solar penetration to the market.

Lighting Africa/Ethiopia piloted the market development approach seeking to address the entry barriers and other challenges impeding the growth of the sector.

Its activities include working with global manufacturers that deliver high-quality products and developing supply chains in a nascent off-grid lighting market, as well as local distribution companies that the project worked with to establish new market channels.

Frehiwot Woldehana, state minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy (MoWIE), deemed the program as overall successful.

“It was also supportive of the national electrification program,” said the state minister said at the Lighting Africa Ethiopia Program Closeout Event on Thursday.

“I would like to thank IFC [International Finance Corporation] for this fruitfull program,” she said. “I hope [the support] will continue,” he added.

Through the program, IFC supported the private sectors technically such as training and opportunity for loans from Development Bank for them to deliver quality products.

They managed to carry out the task despite challenges related to foreign currency, said Aster Mihret IFC light Ethiopia program head.

By Mhret G/Kristos

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