Lighting Life

Focus area: Mitigation; Adaptation
Location: Accra, Ghana; Kibera district in Nairobi, Kenya; Marrakech, Morocco; Mokatam district in Cairo, Egypt.
Established: May 2012

Philips is installing so called "'Light Centers" in Africa, which are areas of 1000m2 or the size of a small soccer pitch, that are lit using the latest high efficiency LED lighting utilizing solar power. The amount and quality of light generated is high. The aim is to provide spaces that can be used in the evening by local communities for sport, education (adult evening classes), rural healthcare, markets and many more activities. The light centers are off-grid and do not require grid power, meaning that increases in electricity load and the development of new grid connections are avoided. The key targets are schools and educational institutes which are central to communities in rural off-grid or urban semi-grid areas.

This type of initiative has only become possible over the past year due to developments in the efficiency of LED lighting. When combined with solar technology, this breakthrough has the potential to bring sustainable, affordable, reliable, high-quality lighting to rural areas with no access to electricity or city areas lacking light.      

To date, Philips has installed light centers in Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, and Kenya, with Nigeria and South Africa soon to follow. This is merely a start' preparations are under way for a significant increase, up to several hundred across the continent. Local owners have reported very positive results to date.

Mitigation / Adaptation

Solar powered Light Centre's provide sustainable development by avoiding the need for emissions during their usage phase.

The overall carbon footprint is extremely low given the long life times of the panels and LED lights.


The activity is expected to create significant social benefits. By helping to extend the day, "light centers" are expected to boost local economies, provide employment, offer young people sport opportunities with all their social benefits, provide security and a possible source of income for local authorities and schools, through renting and advertising. Importantly also, the light centers will support increased opportunities for communal education and rural healthcare.

Potential for scaling-up and replication

The "light centers" are highly scalable and Philips is planning to roll out several hundred centers across Africa.

Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.