Solar Powered Lions Chaser Highlights African Technology Boom

Solar Powered Lions Chaser Highlights African Technology Boom

From Bloomberg

If Emily Parsitau wanted to light her home to ward off lions and intruders, she had to walk for an hour to buy kerosene at the nearest store. Now, she uses a SIM card.

The farmer’s four-roomed home in Kisamis, a rural area on the fringe of Kenya’s Rift Valley, has never had access to the national power grid and she relied on kerosene lamps, when she could fetch the fuel, to light the path toward her cattle, which attracted predators and thieves. That all changed in March when she bought M-Kopa Solar, a sun-powered lighting system that uses mobile-phone technology to track usage and storesenergy for when her home and pathway need to be lit up.

“Before we bought the bulbs I was fearful of lions,” the 42-year-old mother of six said in her cramped sitting room under a ceiling stained by kerosene smoke. “They would attack our cattle in the thick of darkness. Nowadays the lions hardly show up because of the lighting.” With the light, her children no longer have to finish their homework in the dark, she said.

Mobile technology is revolutionizing life for many of the more than 1 billion people in Africa for whom services like banking, the Internet and affordable energy were previously considered luxuries, rather than everyday staples. And with wireless operators pioneering their own inexpensive smartphones, the continent with the world’s youngest population will soon have access to 4G networks and apps that will feed a consumer boom that’s driving African economic growth.

Read more at Bloomberg