What: Early in 2014, “Moonlight Africa” is an initiative of our CEO and Co-Founder who started research and feasibility studies on an innovative social enterprise that will develop a process innovation which will allow the enterprise deliver small scale renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to rural and low income communities in West Africa. The project is in its pilot phase and discussions are currently in full scope with international organisations and governmental agencies as implementing / financing partners.
Why: Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the least electrified regions of the world, with nearly 70% urban and 90% rural residents in Nigeria living without regular electricity. Instead, people in the rural and urban areas are reliant on outdated and harmful kerosene lamps or electric generators that pose health and physical risks, continuously drain funds from often tight daily wages (10% to 20% of a rural / urban household’s annual income), while producing poor quality light.
How: The process innovation is to sell solar lanterns with mobile phone charging capabilities to the growing middle class in West Africa who will remit them to family members living in rural, unelectrified areas. This solution will “piggy-back” on two existing networks and behaviours: first, it will capitalize on the existing cultural practice of regularly sending goods, such as flashlights and cell phones, to family members and second, will leverage bus infrastructure both as a means of delivery to rural areas and as a marketing channel to our customers.
We will be meeting with a range of stakeholders across the region. Everyone has expressed interest in the initiative and support for Moonlight Africa as we move forward. Our near term plan is to be officially registered as an enterprise as a step towards starting a pilot sales of the solar lights. We will work around the clock to develop our advertising materials and develop a partnership with major bus lines. In addition, we will develop a curriculum for sales staff.