The man who brought us Smack That is now bringing a different kind of gift (do not deny that Smack That is a great song) to 600 million people.
That’s right, singer Akon is behind a push to implement a string of measures including solar power and a ‘Solar Academy’ in sub-Saharan Africa in an attempt to bring electricity to the two-thirds of people that are currently living without it. Starting the company Akon Lighting Africa (ALA), the project has already been carried out in 11 countries.
Not only providing sustainable energy, but also local jobs, ALA kicked off last year, and have received widespread gratitude and support from around the world. The ‘Solar Academy’ is to be set up in Mali, and will allow people to learn skills to install and maintain the new electricity systems and micro grids, with added support from European solar technicians and experts who will provide additional training programs, equipment and further guidance.
Akon told the National Journal last year, “I was one of those kids you see running around with no shoes on living in straw huts.” He went onto say, “I was blessed to be able to come to the U.S. with my dad and I’ve seen a better life, but it really hurts a lot knowing that Africa has all these resources and we haven’t fully taken advantage of it.”
The additional health and environmental benefits should also be noted, as families who did not have access to electricity would often burn kerosene for light.