Zara Solar Emerges Winner of Lighting Africa Competition

By Mike Pepler, Ashden UK Awards Manager
Development Marketplace (DM) is a competitive grant program administered by the World Bank and supported by various partners that identifies and funds innovative, early stage projects with high potential for achieving positive development impacts.

Lighting Africa Development Marketplace (LADM) Competition is an integral part of World Bank Group’s broader Lighting Africa Program which seeks to reach 250 million people with modern, affordable lighting by 2030. The LADM theme, Innovation in Off-grid Lighting products and Services for Africa, focuses on households, businesses, and community service providers without access to electricity. Winners will receive up to US$ 200,000 to implement innovative, local projects that fit this theme.

The LADM call for proposals in September/October 2007 generated over 400 applications from 54 different countries. These applications went through evaluation by assessors from both inside and outside the World Bank Group to identify the top 52 finalists, who will compete for funding at the Marketplace on May 6-7, 2008 in Accra, Ghana. These finalists represent 38 different Sub-Saharan countries and address the following sub-themes:
  • Service Delivery: Sustainable and large scale delivery of lighting products in Sub-Saharan Africa including through removal of policy and other barriers.
  • Product Innovation: Responding to consumer and market needs by development and commercialization of high quality, durable, efficient, low cost lighting products and services.
  • Environment: Using renewable energy, clean energy technologies, energy efficiency, and/or environmentally sustainable solutions to meet the lighting needs of households, small enterprises, communities etc.
  • Health: Protecting health from environmental risks factors, such as indoor air pollution and improper disposal of hazardous material
Zara Solar based in Mwanza – Tanzania emerged as one of the 16 winners of Lighting Africa Competition. At this Marketplace Competition Zara Solar also got highest votes for People’s Choice Award among 52 finalists by the conference participants who numbered more than 400 from different parts of the world. Special award was given for this achievement.

Zara Solar was also winner of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, [1st Prize Winner The Ashden Africa Award 2007] for Providing Reliable and Affordable Solar Systems in Northern Tanzania. For more details please visit: www.lightingafrica.org