A year ago, we introduced you to the Ivorian start-up Lifi-Led. Its innovation: giving access to electricity and the Internet through light. Its objective is to contribute to the economic development of isolated villages and to combat the rural exodus. Explanations.
The start-up Lifi-led is a pioneer of Lifi technology (LIght FIdelity), which uses LED light as a channel for transmitting internet data to a computer, smartphone or tablet. Compared to WiFi, LiFi is faster, safer and safe for health (no electromagnetic wave).
In April 2017, the start-up decided to equip a village in the west of the country on the border with Liberia, Drongouiné. For example, the teams installed solar panels and a multimedia internet point.
Drongouiné is a village totally enclosed in the west of Ivory Coast. It was hit hard by the Liberian civil war between 1999 and 2003. Because the village did not have a mobile network, residents were forced to walk two hours into town to recharge their phones or connect to 3G.
To finance this project, the start-up had to draw on its own funds and above all show ingenuity to limit costs. Thus, the electric poles on which the LEDs powered by solar panels are fixed were made from recycled plastic, plastic itself collected from the inhabitants of the village.
Today, it is the 5,000 inhabitants who have seen their daily lives improve. Doctors have permanent lighting thanks to solar panels. They can also connect to the internet in real time and talk to doctors in Abidjan in case of emergency. Teachers can use the Internet as a teaching aid. Distance education in agriculture has been set up for farmers, with agronomists showing them how to improve their performance via Skype or WhatsApp videoconferences.
Although the start-up has won numerous awards since its inception, it remains in search of investors to support its long-term development. LiFi-Led’s innovations to curb the rural exodus and promote the economic empowerment of villages are working well. An appeal is made to all those interested in the broad topic of rural economic development in Africa.