Realizing that access to electricity is one of the key components to increasing the quality of life, rap superstar, and Senegal transplant, Akon decided to take action last year.
As the Guardian reported at the launch of their project last year, Akon and his two co-founders — Thione Niang, a Senegalese political activist, and Samba Bathily, a Malian entrepreneur and CEO of the solar energy company Solektra International — believe that what rural African communities need is not overseas charity but affordable renewable energy delivered by fully trained African professionals, managing for-profit projects that bring longevity, generate jobs and build new self-sustaining economies. They think this initiative could mark the beginning of an African energy renaissance in which the continent becomes the focal point of a global solar power industry.
They were right.
In less than one year, according to the charity group Akon Lighting Africa, a wide range of quality solar solutions, including street lamps, domestic and individual kits, have been installed in 14 African countries — thanks to a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners (including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC and NARI).
As a result, a number of households, villages, community houses, schools and health centers located in rural areas have been connected to electricity for the first time ever. Local jobs, primarily for young people, have also been created in these communities, for installation of equipment’s and for maintenance.