Maasai Warriors hit Boundaries in Protection of White Rhino

Daniel Mamai of the Maasai Cricket Warriors plays against the British Army Training Unit cricket team during a charity tournament called the "Last Male Standing Rhino Cup" at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia

Daniel Mamai of the Maasai Cricket Warriors plays against the British Army Training Unit (BATUK) cricket team during a charity tournament called the “Last Male Standing Rhino Cup” at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya June 18, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Under the gaze of the last male northern white rhino, a group of Maasai warriors in Kenya went into bat for the threatened species, wearing their traditional red shuka robes and clunky white cricket pads.

The warriors were taking part in the annual Last Male Standing Rhino Cup, a two-day tournament hosted in the Laikipia conservation area where the last three northern white rhino live under 24-hour armed guard to protect them from poaching.

“Because the cost of looking after rhinos is enormously expensive these days as a result of poaching, we use many other different ways to try and raise the money,” Richard Vigne of tournament organisers the Ol Pejeta conservancy told Reuters.

Ol Pejeta hoped to raise 1 million Kenya shillings ($100,000) from the 12-team tournament, which also featured sides from the British Army Training Unit and Australian High Commission.

Cricket is not the only method of fundraising that the male rhino, named Sudan, is part of.

Conservationists set up a Tinder profile for the rhino, to help raise money for his $9-million fertility treatment after all attempts at getting him to mate naturally have failed.

Originally reported by Reuters.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

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Benin Moves to Save Part of West Africa’s Last Big Wildlife Refuge

Benin is hiring scores of extra park rangers and bringing in conservation scientists to rehabilitate a part of West Africa’s largest wildlife reserve, which contains big cats and thousands of elephants that have largely died out elsewhere in the region.

The W-Arli-Pendjari (WAP) complex is the region’s biggest remaining expanse of savannah, covering more than 30,000 sq km of Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The tiny nation has partnered with NGO African Parks for the 10-year project centred on the 4,800 sq km Pendjari National Park, part of WAP and seen as the most viable tourist hub for the area, officials involved told Reuters on Thursday.

The complex contains by far the largest elephant population in the region, several thousand, and is thought to house most of the few hundred remaining West African lions, as well as some cheetahs and hippos.

As with other parks in Africa, they face grave threats from poachers and encroachment by a surging human population.

“Pendjari is an opportunity for Benin and the region,” Jose Pliya, director of Benin’s national tourism agency, told Reuters by telephone. “This partnership … will help us make it a sustainable tourism destination (and) a lever for development and employment for the Beninoise.”

But boosting ecotourism faces challenges, not least because jihadists are thought to have infiltrated parts of the wider reserve. France, former colonial master of the three nations that straddle the park, has advised it citizens against all travel to the Burkina Faso side of the expanse.

A tourism ministry spokeswoman, when asked about the jihadist threat, said only that Benin had never been attacked and “security measures are being put in place,” to prevent one.

To better police the park, the project will recruit 10 officers or specialists, train 90 guards, set up a satellite communications network and put a 190 km fence around it, a joint statement from African Parks and Benin said.

A spokesman for the presidency said there were as of yet no plans to work with Benin’s neighbours, although experts say cross border cooperation is key to conserving large wildernesses.

“Regional cooperation always makes sense (for) … better management of the larger landscape and the species that move within it,” African Parks spokeswoman Fran Read said in an emailed response to questions.

“But equally … Pendjari National Park is a sufficiently large ecosystem to successfully conserve all its key species.”

Originally reported by Reuters.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

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Enel Green Power Gives Renewable Energy to New Paediatric Surgery Hospital in Uganda

Enel Green Power (EGP) is participating in the project of Emergency and the architect Renzo Piano for the construction of a paediatric surgery hospital in Entebbe, Uganda, which will become the new centre of paediatric excellence in Africa.

EGP will provide 2,600 thin-film photovoltaic modules manufactured at its 3Sun factory in Catania, for a total of 289.24 kWp (kilowatt peak). The plant, which can be connected to the local medium voltage distribution grid, will give the new hospital energy autonomy and sustainability.

“We are proud to participate in this project, which will allow thousands of African children to be operated on and cared for”, says Francesco Venturini, Enel’s Head of Global Renewable Energies Division Enel Green Power. “For our company, social responsibility also means being present and making a tangible contribution to important initiatives for the populations of the countries in which we operate. The hospital, also thanks to our photovoltaic system, will boast high energy efficiency standards and will be an example of sustainability and Italian technological excellence”.

The photovoltaic system will be installed on the roof of the hospital in such a way as to ensure its integration with the hospital’s architecture, and it will also shelter the underlying structures from sunlight and rain. EGP will provide both the photovoltaic modules and the engineering and site assistance services during installation and testing, as well as covering the cost of transporting the panels.

EGP has involved three other Italian donors in the construction of the plant: Santerno (supply and transportation of inverters and other materials), Agatos (design and testing assistance), Terni Energia (supply and transportation of materials, installation and testing).

The new hospital, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, is fully integrated in the surrounding environment. It will have three operating rooms and 78 beds and will make a significant contribution to improving health standards in the area, as well as serving as a focal point for children with surgical needs from all over Africa. The hospital will also be a training centre for young doctors and nurses from Uganda and neighbouring countries.

Africa is a major area of development for EGP, which is currently present in South Africa with over 400 MW of installed capacity and also has development projects in Zambia, Kenya and Morocco.

Originally reported by Aspire Africa.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

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China Announces Ban on Ivory Trade by End of 2017

african-elephant-heard-bw

China will ban all domestic ivory trade and processing by the end of 2017, a move described by activists as a potential “game changer” for African elephants.

African ivory is highly sought after in China, where it is seen as a status symbol, and prices can reach as high as $1,100 a kg.

“China will gradually stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017,” the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday, citing a government statement.

The announcement follows China’s move in March this year [2016 red.] to widen a ban on imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975 after pressure to restrict a trade that sees thousands of elephants slaughtered every year.

Xinhua said the complete ban would affect “34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues, with dozens to be closed by the end of March 2017”.

“This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory,” Aili Kang, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Asia, said in a statement.

“I am very proud of my country for showing this leadership that will help ensure that elephants have a fighting chance to beat extinction. This is a game changer for Africa’s elephants.”

Conservationists estimate that more than 20,000 elephants were killed for their ivory last year, with similar tolls in previous years.

The WWF campaign group says 415,000 of the animals remain.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took effect in 1975, banned ivory trade in 1989.

Like other countries, China permits the resale of ivory bought before the ban, and also has a stockpile purchased with CITES approval in 2008, which it releases for sale with certification.

WWF also praised China’s move to a complete ban but called on the Chinese territory of Hong Kong to bring forward a plan to end its ivory trade by 2021.

“With China’s market closed, Hong Kong can become a preferred market for traffickers to launder illegal ivory under cover of the legal ivory trade,” said Cheryl Lo, senior wildlife crime officer at WWF.

Originally reported by Al Jazeera.

Note: An Al Jazeera undercover team penetrated the network of dealers, agents and traffickers who profit from the multi-million dollar trade in Rhino horn. An illegal business that is decimating the Rhino population close to the point of extinction – a video on the investigation published on November 12, 2016 can be viewed here.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

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Uganda Starts Up First Solar Power Plant In Bid To Tap Renewables

soroti-aerial

Uganda on Monday started up its first grid-connected, 10 megawatt solar power plant as the east African country moves to tap its renewable energy resources and expand its electricity generation capacity.

Funded by Norway, Germany, UK and the European Union, the $19 million plant was developed by Access Power and Eren Re, two energy sector investors based in Dubai and France respectively.

Uganda, a prospective crude oil producer of some 34 million people, generates about 850 megawatts of electricity, mostly from hydro power dams.

Officials have said they want to increase that capacity to 1,500 megawatts by 2018 and are seeking foreign investors to develop the country’s non-traditional energy sources such as solar and geothermal.

The plant, a vast field of some 32,600 photovoltaic panels, is located in Soroti in northeastern Uganda and the electricity generated will help power at least 40,000 homes.

Last week Uganda signed a 90 million-euro ($95.55 million)loan deal with German development bank KfW and French government finance agency AFD to build a 45 megawatt (MW) power plant in the country’s west.

Originally reported by Reuters.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Mohammad Mukhtar Mustafa,
Deputy Global Director, No. 4,
Strategic Business & Intelligence Division,
Email : deputy.gd.4@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1923
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

For Queries Specific to Africa :
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CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
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How Haidar el Ali Became one of Africa’s Best-Known Environmentalists

Haidar el Ali started out in his family’s furniture business but then dedicated his life to protecting the oceans and other habitats.

At 25 years old, Haidar el Ali had a vision that changed his life.

Like most Lebanese in Senegal, Mr. Ali came from an entrepreneurial family. It had several furniture stores and workshops spread across Dakar’s densely packed Médina neighborhood. Every morning at 7 o’clock, Ali would join his father for a quick cup of coffee and chat before they started work. But one morning, while crossing the street, Ali had a moment he can only describe as “mystical.”

“Suddenly I saw myself sitting in my dad’s place waiting for my own son. My entire life as a businessman flashed before my eyes,” he explains. “By the time I reached my dad, I told him I needed to change my life. The next day I quit. Everyone was asking what happened to me, but honestly, I didn’t know.”

It wasn’t until a couple of years later that Ali understood. He had always been drawn to nature. It wasn’t unheard-of for him to spend weeks on end in the forest, away from the consumerism attending urban life back in Dakar. So Ali made a decision. He turned his passion for the environment into a vocation for life.

To some, his next steps might not seem to make sense: He got trained as a professional scuba diving instructor in France, and shortly thereafter he opened a diving company in Dakar. But as Ali describes it, the move makes perfect sense.

“What I really wanted to do was speak out against how we were destroying our ocean,” he says. “Fishermen were, at this time, still using explosives to catch their food, and I started to film what I was seeing underwater – how the natural ecosystems were being destroyed and degraded by human activity. I took these images to villages and then to the media, which ended up getting a lot of attention. This ultimately gave me the courage to follow my dreams.”

Ali’s parents were immigrants from Lebanon who “got stuck” in this small West African country en route to the United States in the 1930s, and it took them some time to understand why their son would abandon a life of security and comfort. But Ali says he was simply being true to himself.

And he has become one of Africa’s best-known environmentalists, holding several notable positions. He has been indispensable to the work of Oceanium, an environmental nongovernmental organization based in Dakar that he joined in 1985. Almost three decades later, from 2012 to 2014, Ali served in Senegal’s government, as minister of environment and then as minister of fisheries. He also heads the country’s Green Party (FEDES).

Ali is passionate when talking about the planet, raising the alarm about its future.

“Our environment is being attacked. And it’s so easy to kill, because trees don’t cry and branches don’t fall on traffickers,” says Ali, who is now in his 60s. “Unfortunately for us, we are headed towards a place of no return. Time is not on our side.”

Of course, he has not sat idly by. In addition to trying to protect the underwater world, he has also taken up land management and reforestation projects, which he has done with Oceanium. Ali served as the organization’s president for several years, and he is now an honorary member.

The Challenges For Forests

Senegal’s forests have faced multiple challenges. Severe droughts hit the country in the 1970s and ’80s, and the rise in urbanization cleared thousands of acres of trees. Mangroves – one of the richest ecosystems in the world – have been especially affected.

Approximately 133,000 acres of mangroves disappeared in Senegal between 1980 and 2005, according to a study by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The study estimates that as of 2005, about 284,000 acres were left, mostly in the country’s lush and tropical southern Casamance region. These tidal shrublike trees help deter land erosion; provide homes to numerous fish, mollusks, and crabs; and have carbon-sequestering capabilities greater than those of rainforests.

To help fight against mangrove degradation, Ali, through Oceanium, organized massive replanting efforts with hundreds of villages in Casamance, where he is now based. This region is the greenest part of Senegal and was once referred to as the country’s breadbasket, but it’s been far from immune from environmental problems.

Between 2006 and 2012, countless villagers helped replant about 35,000 acres in Casamance, and another 2,500 or so acres were replanted elsewhere in Senegal. It’s one of the largest mangrove replanting efforts in the world.

Ali has worked with coordinators spread across the country who help organize seed distribution among residents.

“Before Haidar came, we didn’t have nearly the number of fish or birds that we do now,” says Aliou Badiane, a planting coordinator with Ali since 2008 who’s based in a Casamance village with no running water or electricity. “The hardest part [for us] is collecting seeds, but now we have a planting system in place that’s saving us.”

Denouncing Loggers

Ali and his network have also devoted attention to a forest restoration project to protect rosewood trees. They’re denouncing the loggers who are illegally transporting these trunks into neighboring Gambia, where they’re shipped to China. As a result of the scrutiny, tree-cutters are not able to cut as much wood, which has driven up the cost of it. A year ago, a 6-1/2-foot trunk sold for 10,000 CFA francs ($17). Today, the same size runs 10 times that price.

“The increase in the selling price proves we are making their work harder,” says Ali, who says forest rangers alert the network two or three times a day about any environmental threats they witness. “Just today, for example, I got an alert of some 5,000 tree trunks found. I’ll first send some other people over to look; then I will go back myself. If this is verified, I’ll call the press to denounce it.”

According to Ali, politicians might say they’re against illegal logging, but on the ground nothing ever changes. “The government is quick to say they encourage me [in my work], but it ends there,” he says. “In my mind it’s never a question of means. It’s one of human determination and will.”

“Haidar is a man of his word,” attests Jean-Michel Kornprobst, professor emeritus of science at the University of Nantes in France, who established Oceanium in 1984, a year before Ali joined. “He has never used his environmental efforts – for which he is so strongly physically and intellectually-linked – for his own personal gain…. [He] is fundamentally honest and is genuinely fighting for future generations…,” says Professor Kornprobst, who commented via email.

Going the Extra Mile

Ali’s tree planting is fueled today as much by personal conviction as by the desire to ensure that the trees, butterflies, and fish are around for “his greatest successes” – his two youngest children, ages 1 and 3. And not only does Ali practice what he preaches, but he also goes the extra mile to compel others to follow suit.

“I’m someone who can’t tell people to plant trees if I’m not doing it myself,” he says. “In my tree nursery [just outside Casamance’s capital city, Ziguinchor], I planted some 20,000 trees of all different types – from mahogany and rosewood to orange, grapefruit, avocado, and palmyra palms. And when I travel from Dakar to Ziguinchor [about 280 miles], I take the car just so that I can personally give out seeds in every village I go through. It’s a fastidious job, but it works.”

According to Ali, Senegal can be a role model for the rest of the region, and even the world, on how people can fight to preserve a natural way of life.

“I’m an optimist because I believe in humanity and the force of humans to react,” he says. “I believe in a nonviolent citizen revolution that is aware of our power to change things and is aware of our potential as the solution. And I see this movement taking hold a bit all over the world. People are starting to become more aware that having a love for all that is living is primordial for the survival of humanity.”

Originally reported by the Christian Science Monitor.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Mohammad Mukhtar Mustafa,
Deputy Global Director, No. 4,
Strategic Business & Intelligence Division,
Email : deputy.gd.4@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1923
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

For Queries Specific to Africa :
Email : africa@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
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As Prices Plunge, Africa Surges Into Clean, Cheap Solar Energy

Until almost two years ago, James Mbugua, a farmer living in Karai, a village on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital, relied on kerosene to light his house, and a car battery to power his television so he wouldn’t miss the news.

Part of the reason he couldn’t plug into the power grid, despite being so close to Nairobi and in an area where electricity is readily available, is that he lives on government land as a squatter, with no papers to show he owns the 70-foot by 80-foot parcel where he has put up a makeshift house.

Now, however, he has found an alternative: An affordable solar system to power his home.

“I could not go on like that and had to seek an alternative way of lighting my house and I discovered that with only $150 I could use solar to light my house and power the television plus radio,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The money for the purchase, he said, came from a loan from his community savings group, which asks members to contribute $5 a month and then offers loans from that pot of cash.

The father of five grown children is one of the millions of people across Africa who are taking advantage of falling prices of home solar panel systems to get cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), home solar systems in Africa can now provide electricity for many households for as little as $56 a year – a cost lower than getting energy from diesel or kerosene.

Of the estimated 600 million people living off-grid in Africa, about 10 percent of them are now using off-grid clean energy to light their homes, according to IRENA statistics.

“About 60 million people may be using off-grid renewable electricity of some kind in Africa. That is about 10 percent of those living off–grid,” IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said at a recent off-grid renewable energy conference in Nairobi.

Solar, Phones & Cash

In East Africa alone, more than 350,000 people are now using solar panels to light their homes and technologies such as mobile phone-based money transfers to pay for the technology, he said. That suggests renewable energy could be a major driver to help the region meet a new U.N. Sustainable Development Goal to provide universal access to electricity by 2030.

“Here in Kenya, we find ourselves at one of the global epicenters of growth, where solar products combined with pay-as-you-go models and mobile payment technologies are breaking new ground in bottom-up electricity sector development,” Amin said.

According to Joseph Njoroge, Kenya’s energy and petroleum principal secretary, solar mini-grids – small-scale electricity networks, sometimes combined with wind power as well – are expected to play a major role in bringing electricity to sparsely populated but vast northern Kenya, as well as to other areas not connected to the national grid.

“We have a third of Kenya’s population living in the northern part of the country, which is also two-thirds of the total area of the country, and it is here that we shall hugely deploy solar mini-grids to attain universal access to power – possibly even before the year 2030”, Njoroge said.

Last August Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in place 23 mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar panels, wind or a combination of the two.

60 Percent Price Drop?

IRENA predicts that ongoing renewable energy innovation, including new business models and finance, will result in a 60 percent decrease in the cost of producing electricity from renewable mini-grids in the next 20 years.

Such significant cost drops are being seen not just in Africa but across the world, IRENA officials said. They attribute the cost declines to technological innovations, changes in regulatory policies and an improved investment environment for private money.

Solar home lighting systems – which now cost about $120 for a small-scale system in Kenya – have fallen by as much as 80 percent since 2010, according to IRENA. The agency noted that it expects the trend to continue.

At the same time, investments in off-grid solar systems globally grew by 15 times between 2012 and 2015, with $276 million spent on them in 2015.

Employment in the renewable energy sector worldwide hit 8.1 million jobs in 2015, an increase of 1.3 million compared to 2014, IRENA said. Solar panels led the way with 2.7 million jobs created.

In addition to lighting homes for the poor, off-grid renewable energy is being used to power things like health and education facilities, agriculture and water access – helping achieve at least a dozen of the other new Sustainable Development Goals, an IRENA report said.

Originally reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more.

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