Slightly over a year ago Senegalese-American R&B singer and businessman Akon talked to AFKInsider about his initiative to bring electricity to a million homes across Africa. By then that looked too ambitious, but a year later the target has been increased to 600 million people or more than half the population of Africa.
How is he going to do this, you ask?
Akon lighting Africa initiative now plans to set up a ‘Solar Academy’ in Bamako Mali that will teach students about using solar panels to bring light to rural parts of many African nations that are grossly underserved when it comes to power distribution.
Supported by the patronage of Solektra International, “in collaboration some European experts who will supply training equipment and programs”, the academy will also help engineers and entrepreneurs on the continent develop necessary skills to enable them produce solar power that will serve over 600 million people.
“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise and that is our objective,” Huffington Post quoted co-founder Samba Bathily saying.
“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.”
The initiative has received a credit line of line of $1 billion from construction giant China Jiangsu International to begin work in low-resource areas of Africa, Tech Times reported.
Apart from providing clean energy to the masses, Akon Lighting Africa is also looking to be a source of employment to Africa’s young population, where 70 percent are under the age of 35.