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.

the sting Milestones

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

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Nokia wins Commission’s approval for Alcatel-Lucent acquisition: a new way for antitrust cases?

9 steps to bridging the net-zero funding gap

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Quality coffee can boost local economies and benefit farmers – here’s how

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

Ambitions are affordable for Asia and the Pacific

Here’s how drone delivery will change the face of global logistics

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

Millions of young people need better job skills. Here’s how businesses can help

‘Leaders who sanction hate speech’ encourage citizens to do likewise, UN communications chief tells Holocaust remembrance event

4 ways to deliver social justice during the COVID-19 recovery

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

Occupational safety and health in a changing world of work

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

Global spotlight on world drug problem ‘is personal’ for many families, says UN chief

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

UN global education envoy urges new funding for ‘lost generation’ of children forced out of classrooms by conflict

Our Amazon is disappearing in ashes

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Miraculous’ music made by hearing-impaired children

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

Three ways China can make the New Silk Road sustainable

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

EU mobilises emergency assistance following floods in Ukraine

How quantum computing could beat climate change

4 ways to build a net-zero economy by 2050

Coronavirus: EU makes available additional humanitarian funding of €41 million to fight the pandemic

Technology companies have power. They must assume responsibility

EU Copyright Directive: Will US tech giants comply or ditch the EU market?

To Fight the Pandemic, Put Trust and Cooperation Before Politics

The EU slowly exits from “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and hopefully from ‘Excessive Austerity Procedure’ too

Things are bad and getting worse for South Africa. Or are they?

200 women call on tech giants to prioritize online safety. Here’s how

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

Mobility package: Parliament adopts position on overhaul of road transport rules

2020 EU Budget: Performance report highlights swift and global EU response to the coronavirus crisis while supporting key EU priorities

European Youth Forum welcomes establishment of new Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament

Take-home pay growing at lowest level since 2008, as gender-gap persists: UN labour agency

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

EU-Ukraine Summit: Moving Forward Together

MEPs oppose EU Commission plans to authorise three herbicide-resistant GMOs

Afghanistan: lead MEPs demand safe departure of EU nationals and Afghan partners and urgent tackling of humanitarian crisis

Here’s how sustainable aviation fuel can take off in Europe

A Sting Exclusive: “EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan – Laying down the foundations for a Greener Financial System”, by European Commission’s Vice-President Dombrovskis

4 myths about corruption

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Diplomacy for Peace Day, #VaccinesWork, the cost of war on Afghans, tech and well-being

VAT: New e-commerce rules in the EU will simplify life for traders and introduce more transparency for consumers

Impressions of China

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

A year on from Yemen talks breakthrough, top UN Envoy hails ‘shift’ towards peace, despite setbacks

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

Protecting the ocean is key to fighting climate change

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

New UN Global Climate report ‘another strong wake-up call’ over global warming: Guterres

This is how to make driving an EV more accessible and affordable

Banking on sunshine: world added far more solar than fossil fuel power generating capacity in 2017

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Bryan Cain says:

    Have you heard about binary / bitcoin trading? This changed my life as i am a living witness, Joe is the trader who helped me to become financially stable today.. If financial stability is what you seek simply contact Joe now(( e-mail Probitrader@gmail.com or WhatsApp: +447380382293)) and start earning from $3,500 -$15,000 weekly..

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

%d bloggers like this: