2 Apr 2013

World Bank and Digicel work on solar powered cellphone chargers in PNG

7:22 am on 2 April 2013

The World Bank Group is working with mobile phone company, Digicel, to enable solar powered mobile phone charging and street lighting to 500 villages in Papua New Guinea.

The Bank's International Finance Corporation estimates over one million mobile phone users in remote communities in the region frequently have to turn off their phones to conserve battery power, limiting their contact with buyers and exporters.

Local entrepreneurs will be given a license to run these stations, charging customers a fee to charge their mobile phones and the solar power stations will also provide street lighting at night.

The corporation's Asia Pacific Vice President Karin Finkelston says it will give people an entrepreneurial opportunity, as well as a reliable power supply, enhancing business opportunities and livelihoods in rural areas.

"And what that will do will allow farmers to use their phones more actively to get information about market prices, and hopefully make their businesses more viable. So that is just one way that you can harness renewable energy to try and support small businesses and people in rural parts of the Pacific."

IFC Asia Pacific vice president, Karin Finkelston