African Women Stand to Gain from Modern Off-Grid Lighting
October 12 2011

women_cover[1].jpgA new report from the ESMAP-supported Lighting Africa Program finds that women in Africa are both important beneficiaries and key facilitators of the modern off-grid lighting revolution. Affordable products utilizing technologies like micro-solar power and LEDs can replace fuel-based lighting—enabling women and men to save money, reduce indoor pollution, and operate their small enterprises with reliable, clean lighting.


Expanding Women’s Role in Africa’s Modern off-Grid Lighting Market analyses women’s role as both consumers and entrepreneurs and identifies women-specific opportunities in the expanding market for modern off-grid lighting.


Modern off-grid lighting products could be an immediate solution for African businesswomen who often operate small retail enterprises like greengrocer kiosks—exactly the kind of businesses that can benefit from improved lighting and extended working hours.


In the household, women substantially influence decisions about purchasing new lighting devices—a role that warrants attention from marketing and education campaigns.


In Africa, where electrification cannot keep pace with fast population growth, nearly 600 million people lack access to electricity and typically rely on expensive, inefficient and hazardous fuel-based lighting devices like kerosene lamps to light their homes and businesses. Women and children are inordinately affected by the toxic smoke from fuel-based lamps. The report shows that people with awareness of the issue prefer to use solar lanterns.

The report compiles the findings of extensive Lighting Africa consumer studies focused on Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.