May 19, 2020

Akon Lighting Africa to build solar academy in Mali

Senegal
Renewable Energy
Akon Lighting Africa
ALA Foundation
mahlokoane percy ngwato
2 min
Akon Lighting Africa to build solar academy in Mali

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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.

Sources: [Wall Street Journal, ALA Foundation]

Image Credits: 
Miguel Campos / Shutterstock.com
Miguel Campos / Shutterstock.com 
 

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Tapoly
Insurance
Leadership
Digital
Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.

 

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