The Lighting Transition in Africa – From Kerosene to LED and the Emerging Dry-Cell Battery Problem

25 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2015

See all articles by Gunther Bensch

Gunther Bensch

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Jörg Peters

RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research; University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics

Maximiliane Sievert

RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: September 21, 2015

Abstract

Non-electrified people in Africa, still more than 500 million today, have been using kerosene and candles for their lighting purposes for decades. The lighting quality of these sources is low and in particular kerosene usage is associated with harmful soot emissions. Alleviating this grievance has always been a major goal of electrification programs. The present paper shows that in recent years a transition has taken place among the rural non-electrified population in Africa: without any external support from governmental or non-governmental organisations people have replaced kerosene lamps and candles through LED lamps, which are mostly powered by dry-cell batteries. LED lamps are available in rural shops virtually everywhere and provide brighter and cleaner lighting than traditional lamps. The downside of this massive increase of LED usage is a soaring consumption of dry-cell batteries. Because of the toxic content of many dry-cell batteries and since people dispose of discharged batteries inappropriately in latrines or the nature, harmful effects on the local environment are likely. We conclude by suggesting that rapid action is needed to put in place an effective waste management system.

Keywords: Electrification; energy access; technology adoption; off-grid energy usage; e-waste

JEL Classification: O13, O33, Q53, Q56

Suggested Citation

Bensch, Gunther and Peters, Jörg and Sievert, Maximiliane, The Lighting Transition in Africa – From Kerosene to LED and the Emerging Dry-Cell Battery Problem (September 21, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2706526

Gunther Bensch

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

Jörg Peters (Contact Author)

RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany
0049-201-8149-247 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rwi-essen.de

University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics ( email )

Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultaet
Passau, D-94030
Germany

Maximiliane Sievert

RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
83
Abstract Views
2,009
rank
328,065
PlumX Metrics