The BCI’s objective is to help build resilient, sustainable communities equipped with reliable infrastructure able to withstand the impacts of climate change and population growth, whilst developing skills and creating sustainable livelihoods.
For instance, Africa has an average electrification rate of only 24 percent, with more than 500 million people living “in the dark”. As most people live in rural areas, expanding electricity infrastructure has its own set of challenges and costs. At the same time, India’s demand for electricity will triple until 2040 according to the World Bank. Currently, 75% of the country’s electricity is generated using coal, releasing serious amounts of pollution into the air. Our response to the problem is to explore the advantages and long-term economies of off-grid renewable power systems.
A significant impediment to economic growth in Africa has been a lack of telecommunication infrastructure. The development of this technology, particularly in rural areas, has been hampered by a lack of electricity to operate telecommunications equipment. The development of electricity networks will provide a significant change in this respect and facilitate much needed economic development. Internet access at a community level will provide better access to educational, health and government services.
Approximately 12 percent of roads are paved in Africa, lagging international standards. The majority of roads are not tarred and travel is mostly by gravel or dirt roads. Those roads that are tarred, are often in poor condition and riddled with potholes. Accident fatalities are frequent and wear-and-tear on vehicles is very high. Roads in rural communities are virtually non-existent.
It is estimated that 60 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa has access to clean, safe water, however in the informal settlements on the fringes of urban areas, women and young girls spend much time carrying water from ground-water fed communal taps to their homes, affecting school attendance and time available for income-generating work. It is also estimated that more than 160 million people in India do not have access to clean, safe water, representing 19% of the total world population with no access to clean water. More than 30 million people are affected by water-borne diseases annually, with more than one million children dying of diarrhoea alone.
Our communities will have reliable access to a clean water supply thereby reducing the risk of water-borne diseases. This will also assist in developing sustainable farming practices, providing a supplementary income source and improving food security.
Skills development and the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices will support employment and food production in the community, creating internal micro economies, increasing incomes and lowering unemployment.