As far as Western Africa has progressed in implementing infrastructure, like many other developing regions, there is much work required ahead. Basic infrastructure in developing nations needs to be improved in many urban and rural regions to allow for economic development. For example, it is estimated that Ghana can save over 33 million USD/annually in already overburdened public sector energy grid-based costs by switching to solar street lights. (1)
Such innovative solutions not only help in developing nations, but also have come to play important roles in humanitarian crisis zones. Solar lanterns have been used in Syrian communities to provide lighting once grids have been destroyed by military activity. (2)
In a recent New York Times article, The Race to Solar in Africa, (3) the author traveled across rural areas in Africa to see first hand the impact that solar energy can have, and the author relayed the following:
- Residents of a rural Ghana community could now safely store the vaccine for yellow fever,
- Charge cell phones at home rather than walking to a bigger town,
- Cold water was now available – solar enabled running of refrigerators, and so coldness was, for the first time, a possibility,
- Electric fans which can squelch overwhelming heat.
Such uses can dramatically improve the living conditions as well as economic activities of communities. Farmers in some communities with new solar energy installations could now use advanced mobile phone and weather monitoring applications to help improve crop yield.
GCP and GCP Solar’s initiatives span across many sustianable charitable activities, including solar lanterns distribution. Like GCP, there are many other examples of active and dedicated foundations working in this area, and making excellent progress. Thus our aim is to be part of the shift towards sustainable and impactful investment and development of basic services supporting the growth of the promising economies in Africa.