UN agency-private sector venture builds on ‘extend the day and extend play’ project in Africa

3 June 2013

The United Nations industrial development agency is teaming with one of the largest lighting manufactures in the world to bring light to rural Africa in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

“The joint declaration commits UNIDO and Philips to cooperate to promote rural access to energy and energy efficiency for productive activities, technology transfer and access to renewable energy solutions through solar-powered LED technologies, in particular in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa,” according to a joint press release by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the company, Royal Philips.

Representatives from UNIDO and Philips said they will identify suitable projects related to those areas and work together on an annual basis.

The declaration was signed by Philippe Scholtès, Officer-in-Charge of UNIDO's Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, and Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs, Philips Lighting, on the margins of the three-day Vienna Energy Forum organized by UNIDO with Austrian authorities and the Intentional Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA).

It “expresses the two organization’s intention to facilitate close cooperation regarding the Community Light Centres Programme in Africa,” according to the news release.

The programme underway by Philips consists of installing more than a hundred Community Light Centres of approximately 1000 meters squared, or the size of a small soccer pitch, across Africa using a new generation of efficient solar-powered LED lighting, the news release denotes.

The concept of the Light Centres is to create areas of light for rural communities, which live without electricity, thus effectively ‘extending the day and extending play,’ to create opportunities for social, sporting and economic activities in the evening.

Joint partnerships between UNIDO and Philips are due to support progress on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the MDGs which have a deadline of December 2015.

Mutual projects will also contribute to the achievement of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which aims at achieving three inter-linked global targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services; the doubling of energy efficiency; and the doubling of the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix.

UNIDO and Philips signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2011 stipulating a joint interest in engaging on sustainable and inclusive industrial development, UNIDO said.

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