PESD's new research on "Solar Lighting and Phone Charging in East Africa: Understanding Adoption, Business Model, and Development Outcomes" was awarded funding from the Freeman Spogli Institute's Global Underdevelopment Action Fund.
1.5 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, severely impeding economic development and income generating activities. The electricity access problem is most severe in sub-Saharan Africa, where it affects 700 million inhabitants.
Rapid adoption of mobile phones has created even stronger incentives for low-income households to obtain the electricity needed to charge phones. The emergence of businesses providing solar lighting and charging solutions could help satisfy that need.
PESD’s research will study the factors that drive adoption of these solar lighting and charging technologies, the business models that are successful in delivering them on a commercial basis, and the development outcomes that derive from their use.
FSI’s venture fund was launched in the Summer of 2010 to help fund new research projects addressing global underdevelopment and poverty alleviation. To date, the Action fund has contributed a total of $701,000 to these projects.