iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Electrifying Africa: Beyond the Grid

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Electrifying Africa: Beyond the Grid

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 05 March 2013

Micro-solar lamps are now lighting parts of Africa that the grid cannot reach. Tom Heap investigates how the solar spread is emulating the wide reach of mobile phones in Africa.

There are currently over 100 million kerosene lamps across Africa that are the main source of light in parts of the continent that are either off-grid or where people cannot afford to hook-up to the electricity grid. These lights are polluting, dangerous and expensive.

Burning a kerosene light in a small room produces the same detrimental effect as smoking two packets of cigarettes. They are a fire hazard and they can cost as much as 15% of an average salary to fuel in some parts of the continent.

Tom heap sets out to discover if a small desktop solar lamp that costs a fraction of the running expenses of a kerosene lamp can improve the health of millions of people and help to lift Africa out of poverty.

This week's programme is produced in conjunction with BBC Newsnight and BBC World's 'Our World' programme. To watch the films made to accompany the programme visit the Newsnight and Our World websites.

Presenter: Tom Heap
Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.



  1. Image for Costing the Earth

    Costing the Earth

    Man's effect on the environment, questioning accepted truths, challenging those in charge and…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss