Webvent Academy

Bringing Professionals Together

Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries

Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries

By: Robert Freling, Executive Director, Solar Electric Light Fund and David Ramsour, Ph.D., Private Consultant, Researcher and Economist

Many of the poorest countries in the world have the highest exposure to the sun. "Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries" explores the opportunities for unprecedented investment in clean, renewable alternative energy systems that have the potential to not only enrich newly industrialized countries, but positively alter the quality of life for populations around the world.


Robert  Freling
Robert Freling

Executive Director, Solar Electric Light Fund

Robert Freling is Executive Director of the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that has been on the cutting edge of delivering solar solutions to rural villages since 1997. Under Freling’s leadership, SELF has pioneered the use of solar power for a wide range of applications including household lighting, water pumping, school electrification, drip irrigation and wireless Internet access. SELF has completed projects in 20 countries, making it a leader among non-governmental organizations in providing practical and cost-effective renewable energy alternatives for the developing world. In 2009, Freling was awarded the 2008 King Hussein Leadership Prize by Her Majesty Queen Noor at the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Forum. A native of Dallas,Texas. Mr. Freling collaborated with SELF as a Chinese translator and interpreter to coordinate a 1000-house solar electrification project in rural Gansu, China. He was soon appointed SELF’s Director of International Programs. In that role, he facilitated negotiations between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to expand the Gansu Province solar electrification project.

Fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Indonesian, Mr. Freling holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from Yale University, and an M.A. in Communications Management from the Annenberg School of Communications at the Uni. of Southern California.

David Ramsour, Ph.D.
David Ramsour, Ph.D.

Private Consultant, Researcher and Economist

David Ramsour has performed research in economic development and international finance in the Middle East. He has taught economics and international finance at Baylor, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Texas at Dallas. He has lectured at Keidanren (Tokyo), Pacific Basin Economic Council, CINCPAC Security Conferences (US Pacific Command), and numerous national conferences and Asian/European centers of higher learning on global issues and strategies, capital flows, and venture capital.

Before becoming a private consultant with a focus on financial markets, project analysis, and strategic planning, he served as senior vice president, Bank of Hawaii (1982-1995) and vice president, economist, First National Bank of Dallas and First International Bancshares (1971-1982). He served three terms as member of the American Bankers Association Council of Economic Advisors in Washington, D.C.

He has worked in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe as a risk manager or financial advisor for a number of firms; advised the government of Federated States of Micronesia on development of independent monetary system; was retained by the Government of Palau to formulate and write the country’s Economic Development Plan in compliance with the requirements of the Department of Interior and Congress to obtain Compact of Free Association; and was retained by Fletcher Challenge, Inc. and Pacific Development and Investment Corporation, both of New Zealand, to locate and evaluate
international development projects in Asia and Pacific island states.

He earned a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Baylor University (1962/1964); did post-graduate studies at the University of Lund, Sweden; studied as a Rotary Fellow in Economic Development/Industrial Planning at the American University of Beirut; was a Ph.D. Faculty Fellow in Asian and Financial/Political Studies at Columbia University in New York and Tokyo (1969-1971); and earned a Ph.D. in International Finance from the University of Texas (1976).