Preprint Essay Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Father Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva: Lessons Learned from Fighting Drought and Poverty with Photovoltaic Solar Energy in Africa

Version 1 : Received: 20 February 2020 / Approved: 21 February 2020 / Online: 21 February 2020 (02:29:52 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 5 March 2020 / Approved: 6 March 2020 / Online: 6 March 2020 (04:12:12 CET)
Version 3 : Received: 2 April 2020 / Approved: 3 April 2020 / Online: 3 April 2020 (03:38:43 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2020
DOI: 10.3390/su12083136


Almost fifty years after the first installations, I identify the main lessons learned from fighting drought and poverty in Africa with direct solar-powered pumps thanks to Father Bernard Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva. Six main findings and three main recommendations emerge from the present analysis which are of direct relevance to all Africa’s countries whose population has gone from 438 million in 1977 to 1308 million in 2019, with about 600 million still having no access to electricity. In place of “awareness campaigns”, I recommend to organize practice-oriented workshops on solar-powered irrigation and rainwater harvesting held by professional educators of newly established solar energy national institutes. In agreement with today’s expanded approach to education in solar energy, and with the key adult learning principle of motivation to learn, said education will include the economic and social aspects of distributed “generation” of energy and water from sunlight and rainfall.


photovoltaics; solar energy; Father Verspieren; solar energy in Africa; solar economy; solar pump


ENGINEERING, Energy & Fuel Technology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 6 March 2020
Commenter: Mario Pagliaro
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: New version with original photographs kindly made available by Professor John Perlin.
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