Mapping South-South Cooperation in the Arab States

Arab States

Rural electrification through solar energy systems (IBSA Fund), Project IV: Roll-out

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 15:22 Written by 
  • Location(s): Guinea-Bissau
  • Type(s): Solution
  • Theme(s): Solar Energy, Sustainable Development
  • SDG(s): 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • Locations of Agro Solutions: Guinea-Bissau
  • Types of Agro Solutions: Solution
  • Themes in Agro Solutions: Solar Energy, Sustainable Development
  • SDGs in Agro Solutions: 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • Locations in Africa: Guinea-Bissau
  • Types in Africa: Solution
  • Themes in Africa: Solar Energy, Sustainable Development
  • SDGs in Africa: 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • Types of ComSec Solutions: Solution

The India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Fund is a remarkable example of cooperation among three developing countries and constitutes a pioneering initiative to implement South-South cooperation for the benefit of other Southern countries in partnership with the UN system. Its purpose is to identify replicable and scalable projects that can be disseminated to interested developing countries as examples of best practices in the fight against poverty and hunger. It was established in 2004 and became operational in 2006.

This initiative brought solar energy to 20 villages. It expanded the solar energy component of a finalized IBSA project in Guinea-Bissau, incorporating lessons from the pilot 5 villages that received and have since been using solar equipment. By providing access to energy, this project enormously enhanced village life. For example, indoor lighting in schools permits studies by adults and other village activities during the evening. Solar water pumps reduce the hardships of obtaining water from wells, making it accessible at fountains or as running water. Street lighting and portable lanterns for village officials provide enhanced security, and cell phone chargers in community centres facilitate connectivity and sometimes even serve as a source of income for village associations. 

The project was implemented in July 2011- December 2013. Read more.


  • Broadened access to energy for 10,000 individuals in a vulnerable group category: rural populations, with a particular emphasis on women and children.
  • Improved environment for education, sanitation, safety and an enhanced quality of life.
  • Increased community engagement in more inclusive governance practices, particularly in the management of its solar power and micro-utilities.
  • Advanced environmental sustainability through development practices based on clean energy.
  • Sharing of solar technology: 10,000 villagers benefitted from solar equipment including street lights, indoor lights for schools and community centres, chargers of cell phones and other light battery operated equipment and solar water pumps.
  • Capacity-building: 120 beneficiaries (representing 5 per villages and 62 per cent female) participated in workshops on village mobilization and pro-activism with a focus on the management of solar energy systems. “Solar grandmothers” trained by the Barefoot College in India shared experiences on micro-utility operations and maintenance and on female participation in these activities. Solar Energy Committees formed in all partner villages are discussing with the IBSA coordination team the provision of their inputs to the projects (construction materials, etc.).
  • Infrastructure development: Civil works necessary for the installation of the solar equipment were advanced by partner villages as their contribution to this project. These included construction of fountains to be linked to solar water pumps, repairs to school and community centre walls or ceilings in order to host equipment, and fencing for protection against theft.

Challenges encountered:

  • This project benefits from the lessons learned during the first IBSA projects in Guinea-Bissau, particularly the pilot initiative providing solar energy equipment. It incorporated concerns about community organization for the management of micro-utilities, as well as the safety and security of solar energy systems.
  • Heavy rains have caused important damage to solar panels in one of the partner villages.

More information: Full evaluation report (in French) 

Replication: The positive outcomes of the project are directly related to the improvement of the quality of life of the populations. The solar systems had an impact on health,  education of children and adults, access to water, security, which are all conditions for reducing vulnerability and poverty.

Budget : USD 596,305

Contact details: 
IBSA Fund SecretariatUnited Nations Office for South-South Cooperation in United Nations Development Programme
304 East 45th Street, FF-12
New York, NY, 10017 
Ms. Ines Tofalo, Programme Specialist
telephone: 212 906 5123
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 6051 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 May 2018 05:39
Login to post comments
UNOSSC, Division for Arab States, Europe & the CIS RT @WGEO_org: “The African region is rich in natural resources from the quality of our soil, water and minerals that we depend and base our… 1 year ago