Rueil-Malmaison (France), May 20, 2010 - Schneider Electric presented BipBop¹, its global energy access programme for people at the base of the pyramid, to over 400 participants from around the world at the occasion of the second edition of the Lighting Africa event, taking place from May 18 to 20 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Lighting Africa, a joint World Bank and IFC programme, seeks to accelerate the development of markets for modern off-grid lighting products in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal is to mobilize and support the private sector to supply quality, affordable, clean and safe lighting to 2.5 million people by facilitating the sale of 500,000 off-grid lighting units by 2012 while, at the same time, creating a sustainable commercial platform that will realize the vision of providing 250 million people with modern off-grid lighting products by 2030.
Schneider Electric's participation as a Gold Contributor was the opportunity to share with the participants its vision and actions for access to energy for people at the base of the pyramid. Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior VP for Sustainable Development at Schneider Electric, and Abhimanyu Sahu, Programme Manager for BipBop in India, participated to the panel discussion about the Off-Grid market trends.
"In Africa, when people do not have electricity, one third of their time is used to get water from the well, says Gilles Vermot Desroches. And most of the existing energy access systems fall apart after a few months due to a lack of local skills to maintain and sell them. BipBop can turn these issues into opportunities creating a virtuous circle combining business, innovation and social responsibility around access to energy."
As the global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric plays a key role in providing energy access to all with the strong willingness to engage communities and stakeholders at the base of the pyramid to provide reliable and safe energy. BipBop, the Group's in-house energy access programme, addresses three key issues to provide sustainable access to electricity:
- Business - Create an investment fund to develop electrical businesses;
- Innovation - Build and deliver electrical distribution solutions for people at the bottom of the pyramid;
- People - Help provide electrical training for young people looking to enter the workforce.
Lighting Africa has also been the opportunity for Schneider Electric to highlight its home solar system, In-Diya, dedicated to the off-grid rural population. Launched in India early 2010, In-Diya is the only available individual lamp and solar home system which can fully illuminate a typical Indian rural house using 5W, consuming 50% less than a CFL solution (Compact Fluorescent Lamp, 11W to 15W). Committed to a social business strategy, Schneider Electric joins hands with its strong network of 400 plus channel partners, various Micro Finance Institutions, NGOs and specially trained Entrepreneurs to reach the rural masses. Half of the net profit earned from sales of In-Diya will be put back into other BipBop projects.
With operations in more than 15 African countries and over 2,000 employees, Schneider Electric has developed strong links with many local players, such as Power Technics Ltd. Kenya. Engaged on daily basis alongside its partners, the Group invests in order to develop the continent's economy, to provide young people with more educational opportunities and to give people the benefit of the most suitable and effective technologies.
¹ Standing for Business, Innovation & People at the Base Of the Pyramid.