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Lighting the Bottom Billion

Kabe Mbengue school Kaffrine 3

While the first Millennium Development Goal – to cut the 1990 poverty rate by half by 2015 has been achieved, 1.2 billion people still live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. 

Many of these people we speak to everyday.

Many of these people are our customers.

Data analysed by SolarAid’s Director of Research & Impact shows that 90% of our solar light customers* live below the poverty line.

The financial savings provided by the purchase of a solar light can be life-changing. A solar lamp saves a family around £50 per year, as they reduce expenditure on kerosene for lighting. If you are surviving on less than a £1 a day the impact is staggering.

On an individual level this money helps families buy vital basic necessities; foodeducation and farming tools. At a country-level it begins to impact Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Using World Bank data for 2013 gross domestic product, SunnyMoney data for 2013 solar light sales and SolarAid research data for average household income saved, we estimate that last year savings due to solar light purchases accounted for up to 0.05% of national GDP in the countries we currently work in.

While this might seem like a small contribution, it indicates the huge economic potential that solar lights could unlock for a country as a whole – and especially for those living under the poverty line.

*of those interviewed