IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has launched a pioneering program to supply small-scale solar power systems to homeowners across Afghanistan. The initiative is designed to provide electricity to some of the nearly 20 million Afghans who are not connected to the national power grid.
The pilot program will see the introduction of Afghanistan’s first pay-as-you-go home solar systems. The systems, which include small solar arrays and batteries, allow Afghans to pay for electricity through small monthly installments, key in a country that is one of the poorest in Asia. The initiative is a collaboration between IFC’s Lighting Afghanistan program, the Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC), the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), and d.Light, a supplier of home-based solar power systems.
“With help from our strategic partners, our PAYG service—this gift of light—will provide thousands of Afghans access to safe, clean and affordable electric lighting and power,” said Amin Ramin, Managing Director of Afghan Wireless
In Afghanistan, nearly 60 percent of the population – over 20 million people – is not connected to the national electric grid, despite efforts by the government and its development partners to expand the network. Initially, the new IFC-led project will help provide pay-as-you-go solar power systems to homeowners in the provinces of Nangarhar and Kandahar. The systems, manufactured by d.Light, have been quality certified by IFC’s Lighting Global program, an umbrella initiative that includes Lighting Afghanistan. After this pilot phase, the systems will be offered across Afghanistan.
“In Afghanistan, difficult terrain, the dispersed nature of rural communities, and a precarious security situation make it extremely difficult to expand the national power grid,” said Marco Indelicato, IFC Program Manager of Lighting Afghanistan. “Solar home systems, however, can provide Afghans with a reliable, cost-effective source of electricity, which is a crucial first step in fighting poverty and creating economic opportunities.”
The pay-as-you-go model has helped drive sales of solar home systems in many other countries. Over 800,000 households globally were electrified by pay-as-you-go solar companies in the first quarter of 2018 alone. The initiative is part of a wider effort by IFC to help Afghanistan combat poverty, improve access to power and drive economic growth.
About the Afghan Wireless Communications Company
AWCC is Afghanistan’s first wireless communications company and the creator of the country’s wireless communications market. AWCC is also leading the mobile payment market by providing financial services to more than 5 million businesses and consumer clients located in all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
About Lighting Global
Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s initiative to rapidly increase access to off-grid solar energy for the one billion people living without grid electricity world-wide. We work with manufacturers, distributors, governments, and other development partners to build and grow the modern off-grid solar energy market.
Today, there are nearly one billion people worldwide living without access to the power grid and modern energy services. About half of these people reside in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Collectively, they spend about $27 billion each year on lighting and mobile phone charging with kerosene, candles, battery torches or other fossil fuel-powered technologies. These traditional solutions are expensive, harmful to health, hazardous and polluting. They resign the poorest people on the planet to a life of energy poverty which constrains economic development and impedes access to education, livelihood development, health, and basic services including communications, water, and transport. With programs in more than thirty countries around the world, our work has helped nearly 40 million people have their basic lighting needs met and introduced more than 26 million quality verified products to market in the last decade. To learn more about our efforts, visit www.lightingglobal.org.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors. GSMA also hosts the “Mobile for Development” platform, a team which brings together mobile operator members, tech innovators, the development community and governments to prove the power of mobile in emerging markets. Through the Mobile for Development platform, GSMA granted seed funds to AWCC and d.Light to launch the mobile-money enabled lease-to-own solar home systems with the objective to drive mobile money adoption and expand energy access in Afghanistan. For further information, visit www.gsma.com
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY18, we delivered $23.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org