Reducing black carbon emissions by transitioning to clean and sustainable lighting in Nigeria

According to World Bank data, about 101 million people in Nigeria do not have access to grid electricity. In rural areas, only 34% of Nigerians have access to the grid. Most people rely on kerosene lamps, candles and torches for lighting.


If nothing is done to improve the Nigerian market for clean household lighting solutions, as many as ten million people could still be using kerosene in 2030 and suffering from the fuel’s negative effects. 

A resourced, strategic approach to the full market transformation to zero-emission solar LED lighting, following a well proven integrated policy approach as applied by United for Efficiency in some 40 countries worldwide, is applicable to Nigeria. This approach takes time and resources to appropriately design, plan and deliver but would have a high positive impact at a relatively low cost.  

A five-year programme to completely phase out kerosene lighting in Nigeria recommended for the benefit of the more than 30 million people that currently use this fuel – this is a significant large scale-opportunity with wide economic, social and environmental benefits, including for reducing short-lived climate pollutants at the household level.


This activity aims to increase access to clean lighting solutions in Nigeria by overcoming identified barriers to the large scale uptake of alternative lighting technologies, supporting policy development, supporting a study on kerosene subsidies and deploying an awareness raising campaign. This activity responds directly to recommendations made by the Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) in their briefing note on black carbon that identifies emissions from kerosene lamps as a global priority for mitigation.

What we're doing

The actions summarised below are completed or in progress and are planned to accelerate an increase in access to clean lighting in Nigeria. Greater use of clean lighting solutions will result in the reduction of indoor air pollution, improved health and safety as well as new livelihood opportunities.

The goals of the project are being advanced through the development of global, regional and national actions, including: 

  • Delivering assessments that detail black carbon emissions reductions and financial and energy savings
  • Developing tools for decision makers, including guidance for policymakers on kerosene subsidy reform which will allow scale up in and beyond Nigeria;
  • Implementing country-level programmes in Nigeria, focusing on policy and market development, including Minimum Energy Performance Standards
  • Developing and running a national advocacy campaign to spur the transition away from kerosene by telling the full story of the multiple benefits for the climate, indoor air quality and health
  • Solar LED lighting products are long lasting and of high quality, are often affordable and have no emissions. While solar LED lighting solutions are available in the Nigerian market, they are not yet widely employed.

An accelerated transition toward solar lighting would: 

  • Improve the lives of millions of people, at low cost to government
  • Deliver annual household savings of $676 million: A recent study in rural Kenya found that households spend 3% of income on lighting on average, while the poorest quintile spends eight. With the acquisition of a solar light, the average number of kerosene lamps in use significantly drops from 2.2 to 1.3, while the expenditure on lighting drops by 40-60%. Households whose solar lights also have phone-charging capability make additional savings by allowing user to charge phones for free. 
  • Create Jobs: According to UNEP en.lighten, off-grid solar employs around 30 people per 10,000 people living in rural areas, compared to just one person per 10,000 people in the case of kerosene. 
  • Reduce dependence on imports, increase availability of foreign exchange and improve balance of payments: Nigeria imports over 2 billion litres of kerosene per year, in addition to batteries, torches and candles. While solar lights are also imported, they are cheaper than these inefficient alternatives, and last far longer. 
  • Significantly reduce kerosene-related deaths and incidents: 128,500 premature deaths occur every year in Nigeria from household air pollution. An elimination in the use of 10 million kerosene lamps will lead to significant reduction in household air pollution, as well as a substantial decrease in the trend of kerosene related incidents such as household fires, poisoning, and burns.

Project updates

Pollutants (SLCPs)