News 2009

Sunlabob goes to Afghanistan

Sunlabob was approached by USAID¹, ASMED², and DAI³ to carry out an assessment of the feasibility of the solar lamp project in Afghanistan, taking account of the local human, social and technical constraints. One of the aims was to evaluate whether the Sunlabob approach to financing and establishing franchised SME energy service hubs in small remote villages could be replicated in Afghanistan.

This first mission in Kabul lasted one week, from 25/04/09 to 03/05/09. Many potential contributors were met, from the business sector, the NGO sector, and the Afghan government, in order to identify opportunities for private-public partnerships and to link potential partners to business services. Two Kabul-based companies appeared extremely keen to implement the Sunlabob solar lantern solution.

Based on the meetings and observations made in the country, a business approach was designed and a 2-phase operational model was proposed (adapted from Sunlabob’s existing models in Laos and Uganda), with the aim of introducing the solar lanterns and making this a commercially-viable solution for Afghanistan, where access to electricity is among the lowest in the world.

Sunlabob is now looking forward to implementing the suggested model for the lamps, and to introducing additional renewable energy solutions in Afghanistan, such as village hybrid grids and solar water purification.

¹ USAID (United States Agency for International Development) provides US economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. For more information about USAID, please visit the USAID website.

² ASMED (Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprise Development) was implemented by USAID at the end of 2006. It is a 3-year development assistance program providing technical assistance and financial support to the SME sector throughout Afghanistan. For more information about ASMED, please visit ASMED website.

³ DAI (Development Alternatives, Inc.) is a global consulting firm that provides social and economic development solutions to business, government, and civil society in developing and transitioning countries. For more information about DAI, please visit the DAI website and the website of USAID's partners.