In less than two years, Senegalese-American R&B singer and businessman Akon has made huge strides in helping bring electricity to some of the most remote places in Africa through his ‘Lighting Africa’ initiative.
When the program was launched, in early 2014, Akon targeted to reach one million people in Africa with affordable and reliable electricity in the first year. But just six month later the goal had been surpassed and was then increased to 600 million people or more than half of Africa’s population.
To underscore the achievements the program has made in Africa the musician was one of the delegates that accompanied US President Barack Obama, who’s also championing a $7 billion energy program dubbed ‘Power Africa’, when he visited Kenya and Ethiopia in July.
In an interview with BBC, Akon talked about Lighting Africa, who the program targets and how they are reached.
“We go from the most needed to the less needed. And then from their we go to the government,” he said.
“Every country has a budget for electricity, whether is rural electrification or its basic electric budget. what we do is we come with the pre-financing…where we come with the initial budget and allow them to pay in monthly installments.”
The US entrepreneur and recording artist hopes to launch a new project in Africa within the next few months supplying solar-powered learning devices and setting up smart schools, according to a report in PCTech.
According to Akon, electricity is the most important factor that is lacking in Africa’s development agenda and many countries in the continent don’t seem to be getting it right.
“That’s the most important thing in Africa because you cannot begin to build infrastructure without energy. And that’s why Africa has been so under developed for so many years because they have been ignoring the energy crisis there,” he said.