Akon the world-famous singer-songwriter decides to use solar energy to bring electricity to rural Africa. The singer started with Akon Lighting Africa[ALA] in 2014.
Akon toured abroad a lot. During his journey, he realised the lack of electricity is a major hindrance to make a living. Moreover, in many places, there was no infrastructure to support concerts and big festivals. Akon concerts were usually in the evening or nights in the states. Hence electricity was a concern for Akon where ever he toured for a concert.
ALA was started by Akon along with fellow Senegalese-American Thione Niang and Malian entrepreneur. ALA program aims at installing different types of solar-powered equipment. Public street solar lighting, solar microgenerators for communities and household use are main areas ALA focuses on.
Solar Academy was opened as a part of ALA’s effort to bring electricity to almost 600million people across Africa. The academy also helps local engineers and entrepreneurs to publicise their solar power based products.
The program’s effort has shown staggering progress to illuminate a country. Over a 100,000 solar street lights are installed across 480 communities in 15 countries. The program also ensured 1,200 solar micro-grids and 5,500 indirect jobs.
Shell Supports Akon Lighting Africa.
Shell has also partnered Akon’s team to launch a new football pitch in Akoka, Lagos. Pitch of the Federal College of Education is made with more than 90 underground Kinetic tiles. These tiles capture kinetic energy from the footstep of players and help in powering floodlights overhead.
Akon and other partners had put their money into the program. But they needed more support, so ALA partnered with China Jiangsu International. The company facilitated a $1 billion credit line for the project. Jiangsu accepted to provide solar arrays and bills African governments for that. The government is supposed to pay back the outlay in three to five years.
Akon says this is not a charity program. The program is expected to bring in some profit in the future. The program’s aim is not just to help people but to empower them.
In Africa, the ALA program is perceived as a huge solution to improve people’s living conditions.
In addition to the ecological energy solution, Akon Lighting Africa also actively helps to empower youths of Africa. By encouraging them to play an active role and drive Africa’s growth, Akon and his team are strengthening the economic activities of rural communities in Africa.