05 Jun Akon Lighting Africa to Power 600 Million
In recent days, news of singer Akon’s pledge to provide electricity to 600 million Africans has spread across the Internet. Most congratulating the effort and also pointing out the lack of mainstream coverage.
Akon, who’s from Senegal, points out that Africa enjoys more than 3oo days of sunny weather, so while some may think the idea was genius, he says it’s “common sense“.
According to the Akon Lighting Africa website, only 30% of the African population has access to electricity, so “almost 600 million inhabitants live without electricity, particularly in rural areas”.
Akon Lighting Africa says that “energy will determine Africa’s ability to unleash its full potential and improve living conditions”. And while several solutions have proven to be effective, the founders of ALA say they must be implemented on a broader scale and fast-tracked. To achieve their goals, the initiative involves three types of solar-powered equipment: public street lighting, solar micro-generators for use by communities, and household connection kits.
Co-founder Samba Bathily said, “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. 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.”
Akon Lighting Africa aims to not only provide clean energy to 600 million Africans, but also provide training and employment to many of Africa’s population, 70% of whom are under the age of 30. Aside from direct technical and engineering jobs, indirect jobs such as cafes, transportation, and other small business are expected to develop.
The massive undertaking received a credit line of line of $1 billion from the construction corporation China Jiangsu International to begin work in low-resource areas of Africa.
ALA is currently operating in 10 African countries and is looking to expand across the continent.
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