Senegalese-American singerÂ Akon joins the latest round of celebrities doing “social goodâ€ around the globe. Akon, who launched theÂ Akon Lighting Initiative in 2014 with Thione Niang and Samba Bathily, created the initiative to bring electricity to some of the 600 million Africans who still don’t have it.
According toÂ AkonLightingAfrica.com, without access to electricity, more than 3.5 million Africans die every year from harmful pollutants or fires in the home produced by costly and toxic solid fuels. With a goal to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity, the Solar Academy will open its doors this summer in Bamako, Mali, and welcome any Africans wanting to help develop the use of solar power.
“The professional training center of excellence targets future African entrepreneurs, engineers, and technicians,â€ Thione Niang said.
“Africa, with its 320 days of sunshine a year is perfectly suited to the development of solar power, particularly since 622 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.â€
“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Bathily, who co-founded Akon Lighting Africa with Akon and Niang.
With 70% of the African population under 35, Africa is the continent with the youngest population today. One of the biggest challenges it faces is training and creating sustainable employment. “Akon Lighting Africa [began] with an adopted sustainable business model from the outset—providing training and creating jobs enabling local populations to embrace technical solutions and become self-sufficient.Â The Solar Academy will help to extend this business model and promote inclusive growth throughout Africa.â€
“We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions,â€ said Niang. “With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.”
For more information, visitÂ Akon Lighting Africa.