Akon, the multi-platinum hip hop recording artist, has set his sights on a brighter future for Africa, with his Akon Lighting Africa program. The initiative, in partnership with Give1Project and ADS Global Corporation SA has now surpassed its original goal of supplying one million African homes with electricity, and is now piloted in 14 countries.The Akon Lighting Africa project harnesses one of Africa’s greatest and most obvious resources—the sun—to power houses with efficient, clean energy. The initiative includes installing solar-powered streetlights and residential solar-structures in African villages and households. The solar energy provided to homes allows millions of children to have access to electricity and improve their education through extended study hours, as well as increased hours to agricultural production.The monthly cost of the electricity is roughly $5, which is much cheaper than the rural Africans’ current source of light, kerosene lamps. The solar powered energy also provides a safer alternative to kerosene lamps, which cause harmful fumes that can lead to respiratory damage, and are a major fire hazard inside the homes.
This sustainable initiative is made possible through Akon’s launch of the Solar Academy, located in Bamako, Mali. The academy will provide training and equipment for African engineers who desire to advance or begin their careers in energy production.
According to Thione Niang, who cofounded Akon Lighting Africa along with Akon and Samba Baithily, “We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions. With this academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.”
This seems to be just the beginning in “leap-frogging” Africa’s development into a digital future.
What are your thoughts on Africa’s development by countries like China and Dubai?