Ottawa – As a member of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, Cheryl Gallant, MP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, recently travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Dakar, Senegal. The local MP used the opportunity to provide a demonstration of a solar powered LED lantern from Glenergy, which is based in Petawawa. Among those present at the meeting were Ms. Jennifer Kargbo, (Deputy Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Mr. Alan Kyerematen (Head of African Trade Policy Centre), Joseph Atta-Mensah (Director of Strategic Planning & Programme Management) and Michelle Levesque, (Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia).
“There are 1.7 billion people (1 in 4) who lack access to electricity globally. This number is increasing. Fuel-based kerosene lighting is expensive, polluting, hazardous and inefficient. Inadequate access to electricity in the developing world reinforces the vicious cycle of poverty,” stated Cheryl Gallant, MP. “Yet, in order to benefit from the cost-savings and advantages of modern lighting, upfront costs can be prohibitive.”
Solar powered LED lanterns are an affordable, safe and sustainable solution to lighting in remote locations. Enabling access via local enterprise breaks the cycle of poverty and the dependence on kerosene.
“Glenergy, which is owned and operated by Petawawa businessman Glen MacGillivray, has a business delivery model based on micro-consignment and revenue sharing. This allows for village level entrepreneurs to sell solar lanterns while reducing their financial risk and increasing accessibility of life-improving modern lighting. It was exciting to connect the Ottawa Valley with Glen’s mission to ‘enable the sustainable transition from kerosene to solar lighting’. Sustainable lighting is linked to six of the eight Millennium Development Goals Canada is promoting in Africa,” said Gallant, MP.
Established in 2003, the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association promotes exchanges between African and Canadian parliamentarians, proposes initiatives likely to lead to better mutual understanding of national and international problems, and works to develop cooperation in all the fields of human activity. In addition, the Association works to develop ties with regional parliamentary groupings and the Pan-African Parliament. Addis Ababa is home to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. To UNECA, solar lighting in place of kerosene has significant impact on individuals, households and communities.
In Addis Ababa and Dakar, Cheryl met with parliamentarians and government officials to strengthen bilateral relations and parliamentary cooperation and to engage parliamentarians on democracy, governance, and economic issues and strengthen relations with regional organizations, most particularly the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).