Preprint Essay Version 3 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed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. They are of direct relevance to all Africa’s countries whose population has gone from 438 million in 1977 to 1,308 million in 2019, with about 600 million still having no access to electricity. In place of “awareness campaigns” and extraordinary courses held by international organizations, I recommend to establish national solar energy institutes whose task will include the education of solar energy professionals giving practice-oriented workshops on solar-powered drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting throughout each Africa’s country. Said education will critically 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; rainwater harvesting; solar pump


ENGINEERING, Energy & Fuel Technology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 3 April 2020
Commenter: Mario Pagliaro
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Study revised incorporating changes suggested by Reviewers prior to publication in Sustainability themed issue "Solar energy in Africa". Besides including new text concerning the benefits of establishing a national solar energy institute vs. the costs, the text of the revised version has been streamlined and improved.
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