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Electrifying Africa: Beyond the Grid

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.

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.

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