Churchill Road is a busy road in the city of Harare, Zimbabwe. While there were grid-connected light poles along the road, the lights were no longer working due to very old infrastructure, vandalism and degraded components. Lack of lighting made it difficult for both drivers and pedestrians at night. Unfortunately this is not uncommon in Zimbabwe, and a new approach was needed that would provide reliable lighting at a cost-effective price.
The solution was an innovative public-private partnership idea devised by Barbara Rwodzi, a woman entrepreneur in Zimbabwe with a solar systems company called MED Lighting. She approached the Harare City Council with a proposal that MED Lighting would find investors to do the streetlighting project as a public-private partnership, and in return for the investment the City Council would give MED Lighting advertising space on the streetlight poles for a period of 20 years.
With this innovative business model the government of Harare and Zimbabwe were able to secure a mission critical infrastructure service without the need for any public sector funding. Phase 1 of the project included the installation of 44 Illumient lights on Churchill Road. Additional lights will be installed in Victoria Falls and other locations throughout Zimbabwe.