Akon Launches Solar Academy That Will Bring Electricity To 600 Million People In Africa

Senegalese-American singer and producer, Akon, will be opening a solar academy this summer that aims to supply electricity to some 600 million people in rural Africa.

The 42-year-old artist recently announced his plans for the charity, aptly titled Akon Lighting Africa, at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York.

The organization was launched in 2004, and has since provided solar street lamps and domestic solar panels in over one million households in 14 African countries.

Located in Bamako, Mali, the solar academy will train African engineers and entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to produce and maintain solar-powered electricity systems and micro grids. Here, experts will be available to provide assistance with training – and equipment and programs will be supplied by angel investors.

According to Akon Lighting Africa, the solar academy will provide the means of harnessing the 320 days of sunshine that most parts of Africa receive each year.

“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Baithily, co-founder of the organization with Akon and Thione Niang.

“We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions,” Niang stated. “With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.”

In addition to supplying clean energy, the organization also aims to create sustainable employment for many youths, as 70 per cent of the continent’s population is under the age of 35. Thus, an investment in solar energy for the future of Africa would be helpful in more ways than one.

“We are doing more than just investing in clean energy. We are investing in human capital. We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now,” Bathily added.

Akon Lighting Africa is not the first charitable initiative of the singer. There is also his Konfidence Foundation, which has been around since 2006. The non-profit organization aims to raise public awareness of certain conditions in Africa and provide underprivileged youth with educational materials, recreational resources, and health and wellness services.

“I always had a passion for Africa because I am from Africa and I always felt Africa was being taken advantage of,” Akon told African Vibes.

“As a regular person, there’s not much you can do, but as a celebrity you can influence millions of people, which makes it a lot easier. Things can happen a lot faster, and I like to take advantage of that and find more ways to bring opportunities to Africa.”

The “Smack That” singer, who grew up in Kaolack, Senegal, has also shared that he not only aims to develop and utilize the natural resources of Africa, but seek to create unity between the countries.

“I think the United States probably may take the value of Africa just a little bit for granted,” he said in a 2014 interview with Politico. “I think with the right partners, the right neighboring allies and the right support, Africa could be dominating. Because it has all the natural resources you can imagine, and if all the other countries actually got together and created unity, the dollar would be humongous.”

[Image: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images]

Share this article: Akon Launches Solar Academy That Will Bring Electricity To 600 Million People In Africa
More from Inquisitr