These social entrepreneurs are lighting up Africa

africans

(Annie Spratt, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Easy Solar provides solar lighting and chargers to power energy-deprived homes in Sierra Leone.
  • The pay-as-you-go devices provide electricity to even the least-well-off families.
  • A reliable energy grid is the foundation for all development efforts in Africa.

For more than 800 million people around the world, sunset means a world without light.

Now, two social entrepreneurs are brightening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in one of Africa’s most energy-deprived nations.

Enyonam Nthabiseng Mosia says 87% of Sierra Leone’s 7.65 million people lack access to a reliable grid – 99% of people in rural areas.

“If you drive outside the capital Freetown at night, most people are in the dark,” she says.

Mosia and her fellow solar pioneer Alexandre Tourre have just won Social Entrepreneur Awards from the Schwab Foundation, co-founded by Hilde Schwab and her husband, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab.

Their company, Easy Solar, has supplied 300,000 homes in Sierra Leone with solar-powered lighting and chargers, which can run mobile phones and entertainment devices. This creates 300 new jobs and saves households more than $5 million in electricity costs every year.

Improving lives

The solar solutions are cheaper than the stopgap energy sources people have been forced to use, like shared charging points. Easy Solar says people have been spending between 15% and 20% of their income on energy alone.

What is the World Economic Forum doing to champion social innovation?

Innovative social entrepreneurs are addressing the world’s most serious challenges ranging from illiteracy to girls’ education and disaster relief. To achieve maximum impact and start to address root causes, they need greater visibility, credibility, access to finance, favourable policy decisions, and in some cases a better understanding of global affairs.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is supporting more than 350 late-stage social entrepreneurs. By providing an unparalleled global platform, the Foundation’s goal is to highlight and expand innovative models of social innovation. It helps strengthen and grow the field of social enterprise by showcasing best-in-class examples, models for replication and cutting-edge research on social innovation.

Our global network of experts, partner institutions, and World Economic Forum constituents and business members are invited to nominate outstanding social entrepreneurs. Get in touch to become a member or partner of the World Economic Forum.

“You only realise how much energy is a privilege when you don’t have any,” says Mosia.

Growing up in South Africa, she experienced what was known as “load shedding,” or rolling electricity blackouts, which left her studying for high school exams by candlelight.

“I realised that you cannot talk about wide-scale development on the African continent unless you fix the energy problem. Six hundred million Africans are without power, whereas in the rest of the world we are talking about robotics and AI,” she adds.

“It’s a huge divide and if we don’t fix the foundations of a modern economy, we won’t get it right.”

The share of the global population with access to electricity continues to rise, but it’s still not 100%.
Image: Statista

Energy inclusion

The company provides a range of products, from small solar lanterns, to home-power systems that supply a handful of houses, up to the biggest systems able to power a TV or cooking stove.

Easy Solar devices are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, which ensures social inclusion as even the least well-off people can afford one of their services. Mosia says the lanterns alone make a big difference for families allowing children to study in the evenings.

“It’s about having a life where energy is the background,” she says, pointing to the “huge psychological freedom” people gain from not having to worry about where their home energy is coming from.

The company has just begun operations in Liberia and is planning to expand into neighbouring Guinea as it seeks to bring reliable, cost-effective energy to Africa.

In total, 40 global social innovators have been recognised for their contribution to making the world a better place in the 2019 Schwab Foundation Awards. Their work was highlighted at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit in September.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

Residents and visitors to this Dutch neighborhood could share a pool of cars and bikes

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

UN chief welcomes formation of unity government in Madagascar

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Smoking VS Vaping: is it a battle?

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

Ukraine: €8 million in humanitarian aid to withstand winter

Siege of Syria’s eastern Ghouta ‘barbaric and medieval’, says UN Commission of Inquiry

Chronic illnesses: UN stands up to stop 41 million avoidable deaths per year

Could the EU’s ban on palm oil in biofuels do more harm than good?

4 reasons why women should lead the G7 agenda in 2018

EU-US trade war: Will Trump take advantage of WTO’s decision leading to ominous economic growth?

Understanding the gender gap in the Global South

1.4 million refugees set to need urgent resettlement in 2020: UNHCR

Why climate change matters for future health professionals

Parliament asks for the termination of EU-US bank data deal

Why poorer people suffer more from climate change

Agreement on linking the emissions trading systems of the EU and Switzerland

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

EU-US Privacy Shield data exchange deal: US must comply by 1 September, say MEPs

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

A new dawn for Europe: Joint op-ed by President von der Leyen, President Michel and President Sassoli

Mali: Two peacekeepers dead after dawn attack, several injured – UN Mission

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Broadcom and sends Statement of Objections seeking to impose interim measures in TV and modem chipsets markets

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

European tourism remains a strong growth factor

State aid: Commission concludes that recapitalisation of German NordLB is market conform

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050*

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Hope’ on the horizon as UN Peacekeepers push deep into Mali

5 steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean

Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists, new UN figures show

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

First-ever World Braille Day underscores importance of written language for human rights

Trump after marginalizing G20 attacks Europe and China where it hurts, brandishes currency war

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

Technology can hinder good mental health at work. Here’s how it can help

Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for ‘quantum leap’

UN receives ‘Humanium’ wristwatch gift, symbolizing peaceful transformation

Iraq protests: UN calls for national talks to break ‘vicious cycle’ of violence

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s