ARTI-TZ Starts Lighting Rural Tanzania Project

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ARTI –Tanzania officially signed the contract for the Lighting Rural Tanzania Project on November 22nd, 2010 with the Rural Energy Agency (REA) of the Tanzanian Ministry of Energy & Minerals (MEM).  The project utilizes funds from the World Banks Light Up Africa Initiative.

ARTI-TZ  pilot project aims to demonstrate that solar energy powered lighting can be accessed by the low income rural population using the existing trade channels and its “Mali Kauli” (Mali = Goods + Kauli = Word of Honour) credit system in Bagamoyo District of the Pwani region.

ART-TZ Executive Director, Nachiket Potnis receiving the LRTC award from REA and World Bank officials in Arusha, Tanzania

The rationale for the project is rather strait forward – Lighting is a basic need.  However, the up-front investment required to access any modern lighting devices is beyond the financial capacity of the average rural Tanzanian. The absence of reliable technical after sales service also deters the users from investing in the modern devices. This project is necessary to address both these factors which are obstructing the acceptance of modern renewable lighting devices in Tanzania.

Credit allows solar to be accessible to rural inhabitants with low incomes

ARTI-TZ will introduce Barefoot Power products in the market, including the PowaPack 5 watt system that includes a 5 watt solar panel, 4 LED lights, phone charging and radio adaptors.  The system chosen because it has won numerous international awards for its innovation and reliability.

5W panel, 5Ah battery, 4x 12 led lights, phone charging, radio adapter

The PowaPack 5 watt systems will be supplied to 7 existing district level wholesalers on a long term credit period and affordable weekly payment schedules. The wholesalers will supply the product to their existing network of village level retailers who in turn will make the product available to the end users. The transactions between the wholesalers and retailers to end users works on a soft/ informal credit systems – commonly known as “Mali Kauli”.

10 Form VI leavers from the district will be thoroughly trained and equipped to service the solar systems locally if and when required thus creating and/or supporting local jobs and capacity in the District.

10 Form VI graduates will receive solar training so that they can generate incomes locally

About the World Banks Light Up Africa Initiative

Light Up Africa seeks to offer modern, affordable, and reliable lighting services that can be sustainably provided over the long run to 50% of those 500 million people in Sub-Saharan

Africa without access to modern energy services by 2030.  Light Up Africa targets rural, urban, and peri-urban customers – consisting predominantly of poor households with low, non-wage incomes. Currently, this market is dominated by costly, inefficient and often hazardous fuel based products – such as kerosene lamps that represent a major expense for poor households. It is estimated that these products can account for up to 50% of all energy expenses and as 30% of total household income for the poorest of the poor.