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Press release: Nobel Peace Laureate To Light Up Global Off-Grid Conference In Dubai

Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, microfinance pioneer and founder of Grameen Bank and Grameen Shakti, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition, to be held in Dubai from the 26th to the 29th of October.
Jointly organised by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and the World Bank Group under its Lighting Global initiative, this will be the largest event to date to showcase developments and opportunities within the global off-grid solar sector. Stakeholders will gather to determine the best systems to achieve improved solar lighting access using business-driven models. The conference will also facilitate discussions on the role of policy and regulation in creating suitable environments for uptake across the developing world. Of particular importance will be efforts to marry business and development goals to create sustainable markets and bring 1.4 billion people out of energy poverty.
Mr. Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA, says that “2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light and with the COP 21 climate summit in Paris mandated to deliver a new international agreement on climate change, it is crucial to showcase the countless positive impacts that solar lighting solutions can have across the globe. Aside from the numerous personal and community impacts, solar lighting can bring annual savings of 90 million tonnes of CO2 and 270,000 tonnes of black carbon. These are substantial savings in light of the critical climate challenge the world faces”.
Speaking of Professor Yunus, Mr. Peters notes, “Grameen Shakti has popularised solar energy in Bangladesh using an extremely successful market based social program. This has brought light and power to millions of people in Bangladesh, and helped to transform whole communities in the process”. Mr. Peters believes that Professor Yunus will provide “key insights into the challenges of uptake in rural developing communities” as well as providing “an inspirational and uplifting start to such an important conference”.
Professor Yunus is expected to share his experiences from Grameen Shakti and to discuss the concept of social business. Since its inception in 1996, Grameen Shakti has overseen the installation of over 1.6 million Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh. Mr. Peters is keen to point to the “transformative social and economic power of off-grid solar energy” which he says “enables whole communities to develop and prosper whilst delivering significant improvements in health and educational standards”.
Mr. Peters added that the 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition “is crucial to ensure that all aspects of clean lighting provision are considered. An inclusive approach must be taken, one that allows for the industry to speak with one clear voice. 1.4 billion people worldwide can benefit from the power of solar lighting and energy. This important event in Dubai is an essential springboard to success and I look forward to Professor Yunus’ essential contribution this October”.