SADC explores affordable lighting

This because the majority of citizens in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region do not have access to electricity while those who use it “still struggle to afford quality lighting”.

Instead, many stilly rely on paraffin and candles which often lead to fires.

The two-day United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) conference was held this week in Pretoria and was attended by representatives from the South African government, City Power, Eskom and 11 SADC countries.

According to manufacturers of CFLs, the bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than traditional bulbs and produce the same amount of required light.

If properly used, some of these bulbs can last up to seven years.

General Manager for the electronics company in South Africa, Luc Escoute, said SADC needed light sources that consumed less energy to counteract the scarce electricity supply.

“It is essential that alternatives be found to meet the needs of the SADC rural communities far removed from transmission lines.

“One option currently being investigated is the mass introduction of energy saving lamps that can be operated on solar panel batteries and/or rechargeable portable lighting systems,” says Escoute.

The company’s branch in India had also developed two innovative lighting solutions which catered for people without access to electricity.

This in the form of the Uday, a rechargeable and waterproof portable lamp for general illumination as well as the Kiran, which is a light-emitting diodes (LED) flashlight that offers 30 minutes of light for every minute of cranking.

“By developing quality lighting solutions such as these, we are not only improving the quality of life for these people, but, by providing lighting beyond sunset, we are also offering improved safety and extended productive working hours,” said Escoute.

He added that the economic development of the SADC region would benefit positively from initiatives that seek to provide affordable lighting or electricity to a greater proportion of the population.

If viable, Escoute said the envisaged assembly factory would be the first of its kind in Africa and could serve as a catalyst for SADC to contribute towards the growth of the electrical and electronic sectors.

“At the very least, the assembly operation will provide energy efficient, eco-friendly and affordable lighting solutions for the base of the pyramid market,” said Escoute.

July 2006
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