Executive Briefings

Tea, Haircuts and Fish Bones: Letting the Light Into Pakistan

Reclining comfortably on a bed outside his mud home, 75-year-old farmer Mohammad Khoso watches life go by. His family is now the center of everyone’s envy in the southern Pakistani village of Murid Khoso — they have electricity.

“Now I can eat fish and not worry about bones getting stuck in my throat,” Mohammad told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, describing how he enjoys a well-lit evening meal since his son, Ghulam Nabi, installed solar bulbs in his home three months ago.

For nearly a decade, chronic power shortages have hobbled Pakistan’s economy, leaving 144 million people without electricity or enduring lengthy blackouts, the World Bank says.

Globally, more than one billion people, or one in seven, lacked access to electricity in 2014 and many more suffer from poor supply, which keeps them trapped in poverty, reliant on wood, candles and kerosene, experts say.

These numbers may be grim but young entrepreneurs like Saad Ahmad see this as huge growth potential in Pakistan, which generates only two-thirds of its energy needs.

“There is massive opportunity for business,” said Ahmad, 26, chief executive of solar energy supplier Nizam Bijli, which has powered 1,300 homes since it started in 2016 and hopes to reach 1 million people by 2020. “There is room for many companies to make a difference in the lives of these communities.”

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“Now I can eat fish and not worry about bones getting stuck in my throat,” Mohammad told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, describing how he enjoys a well-lit evening meal since his son, Ghulam Nabi, installed solar bulbs in his home three months ago.

For nearly a decade, chronic power shortages have hobbled Pakistan’s economy, leaving 144 million people without electricity or enduring lengthy blackouts, the World Bank says.

Globally, more than one billion people, or one in seven, lacked access to electricity in 2014 and many more suffer from poor supply, which keeps them trapped in poverty, reliant on wood, candles and kerosene, experts say.

These numbers may be grim but young entrepreneurs like Saad Ahmad see this as huge growth potential in Pakistan, which generates only two-thirds of its energy needs.

“There is massive opportunity for business,” said Ahmad, 26, chief executive of solar energy supplier Nizam Bijli, which has powered 1,300 homes since it started in 2016 and hopes to reach 1 million people by 2020. “There is room for many companies to make a difference in the lives of these communities.”

Read full article