The Marketmakers

by Nancy Wimmer

A solar market is booming in the hinterland of Bangladesh: not in the megacity, Dhaka―but in village markets and bazars, in tribal hamlets in the Hill Tracts, on islands in the Brahmaputra River and in the fishing villages along the Bay of Bengal.  This is Bangladesh’s hinterland, where 70% of the population lives.  And in this respect Bangladesh is no different from other developing countries in Asia and Africa.

But here Bangladesh stands out: It is home to a thriving rural market for solar home systems―a market based on private enterprise, competition and innovation.  Within a decade, 50 rural enterprises were installing up to 65,000 solar home systems a month, creating thousands of village jobs and fueling the economy.

No doubt, rural business is tough.  How do you create demand for solar power given limited village household incomes and a technology no one has ever heard of?  And how do you ensure quality service to remote households scattered across a river delta?  Many see the answer in subsidizing the solar systems.  Bangladesh showed that subsidies alone won’t create a market.  Developing a solar market takes more―much more: rural entrepreneurs, finance, innovative business models and leadership.

If you envision rural business to be a driving force for progress in developing countries, then look to Bangladesh and hear from the very different market players who joined forces to make it happen: The Marketmakers.

MCRE Publishing
http://www.mcreverlag.de/


Nancy Wimmer
is an entrepreneur, researcher, and advisor to the World Council of Renewable Energy. She specializes in microfinance and rural electrification in developing countries. Her career has many facets. Her political campaigns have targeted the German Government, the European Commission, the World Bank, and the United Nations. Her practical work has led her to the rural parts of Bangladesh, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Honduras, Nepal and Peru. She has lectured and published extensively and advises investors and entrepreneurs. Nancy, an American citizen, has studied in the USA and Europe and holds a Masters of Philosophy from the Jesuit School of Philosophy in Munich. 
See her website at www.microsolar.com

 

 

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