Approximately 1.2 billion people on earth do not have access to electricity, and nearly half live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Across this region, electricity access averages 30 percent, which is the lowest access globally, and is the only place in the world where the number of people without access to electricity is increasing, due to rapid population growth outpacing efforts to provide access. Electricity is a proven driver of both economic growth and human development. Electrification boosts GDP by creating jobs in factories, offices, and shops. Electricity gives students access to effective learning environments. It makes the safe storage of vaccines and medicines possible. It drives advances in agriculture, animal husbandry, and agribusiness. And, it leads to dramatic increases in public safety and public health. Ultimately, electrification empowers individuals, communities, and new businesses, and lays the foundation for a positive future.
A prize could focus on demonstrating energy systems that are tailored to match the needs of specific African populations and communities, while engaging local innovators in designing creative solutions to enable adoption or create jobs. The winning team might be asked to demonstrate how a system of clean energy technologies can provide reliable energy to a remote community, or a school, clinic, or office building over TBD hours/days for a total cost of less than TBD dollars/cents per day. The main prize may be pared with a “Local Entrepreneurship Prize” with low barriers to entry. The Local Entrepreneurship Prize could reward the best energy workforce training program, electricity payment app, or consumer energy literacy campaign.
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