Solar powered phone launched in Kenya

Safaricom_solar_phone.jpgYou know what the best thing of Africa is, there is no shortage ofsunshine and Kenya is utilizing this free source of energy which isabundantly available by launching a solar powered phone. Kenya’sleading mobile network operator Safaricom has launched a cheapsolar-powered mobile phone aimed at primarily at users in the ruralareas of Kenya. Kenya also plans to plant 7.6 billion trees over thenext 20 years. Now that is really a very good move. The mobile handsetwill cost only US$ 39. With 18 million active mobile phone users inKenya, the only sad part is that only 18% of the 36 million populationhave access to electricity and because of this they cannot charge theirphones. During the launch, Kenya’s Environment Minister also announcedthat the country would plant 7.6 billion trees over the next 20 yearsto redress decades of chopping down forest cover, the effect of whichis now being felt in acute water and power shortages.

Just 3 percent of land in the agriculture-based eastAfrican economy is covered by forests that are protected by theauthorities, compared with a government target of 10 percent. Thescheme will cost about 20 billion US dollars and would kick-off theproject by planting trees along rivers. The cost of the tree plantingproject is nearly twice the government’s annual spending, which will beabout 11 billion US dollars in fiscal 2009/10. The impact of forestdestruction is being felt by Kenyans, with rivers drying up andhydro-electric power generation, farm production and tourism allsuffering as a result.




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