by Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
Lack of electricity in Africa remains one of the biggest barriers to the region’s development. Moreover, high electricity costs continue to impact socio-economic development of most African countries. With constant load shedding, insufficient power supply and never ending price increases for electricity in South Africa particularly, more and more people are considering to move their businesses and/or homes partially or permanently off the utility grid or decreasing their dependency on utility power. This means opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide alternative energy solutions.
Only 18% of households in Rwanda are connected to the grid according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda. So, without access to reliable electricity and affordable power, entrepreneurship efforts are dampened as businesses cannot grow, neither can new jobs be created or critical services provided. While improved governance is critical in the advancement of the energy sector; significant technological advances are also required to reduce the energy load requirements and develop the off–grid market.
In fact, a report by the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (LEAP) estimates that off-grid fans, television and refrigeration devices could present a market of over $4.7 billion by 2020. In East Africa for instance, M-Kopa Solar has pioneered the deployment of solar kits to individual households, connecting at least 450,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, while creating jobs and reducing dependence on dirty kerosene lighting. There are also existing players in Kenya selling TV models that fit within the energy specifications viable for off-grid communities.
South Africa is also starting to focus on a range of smart, all–in–one energy storage and distribution systems for homes, small and medium size businesses as well as leisure markets. These hybrid systems enables consumers to run all electric devices ranging from Televisions, dish washers, laptops to many others; This way people become less dependent on the grid, significantly save energy costs and increase power reliability.
While there’s been significant growth in clean energy technology market to improve quality of life in Africa, these solutions have focused largely on basic electrification services limited to mobile phone charging, lighting and cooking. So, there is still a lot to be done to move into off–grid appliances markets. And, that’s where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be part of the solution.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
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