Akon Lighting Africa to build solar academy in Mali
According to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, the Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) foundation has invested $400 million in delivering energy to rural areas across Africa; ALA also plans to cement its success by building a solar academy.
The foundation, which has projects across 11 African nations, is headed by the recording artist himself, Senegalese politician Thione Niang, and Malian businessman Samba Bathily. The broad goal of the ALA foundation is to “bring electricity to African villages by a clean and affordable solar energy solution.”
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When he was first interviewed about his project, Akon was keen to recognise his Senegalese roots, he said: “I was one of those kids you see running around with no shoes on living in straw huts; 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.”
At the recent United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum, the ALA founders announced that they would be constructing a technical training and engineering centre in Bamako, Mali under the patronage of Solektra International, one of the foundation’s key partners.
Samba Bathily said: “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”
Read the June Issue of African Business Review.