Akon is best known for his music career and success. With songs like ” I Wanna Love You” and ” Lonely”, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this artist. Akon has founded an initiative appropriately entitled, “Akon Lighting Africa”. The singer aims to provide electricity to 600 million – yes, MILLION – people through the founding of his Solar Academy.
The academy will be located in the city of Bamako, Mali, and it will provide education and practice to engineers and technicians to help enable and advance the use of solar energy throughout the nation. Africa is known for it’s heat, and the continent has 320 days of sunlight – so harnessing it’s abundance as a natural resource is genius.
Due to his heritage, this project is close to Akon’s heart. The singer was born in the U.S., but he spent much of his childhood in Senegal with his family. The singer has always been philanthropic with his money and fame, and has said:
“Two things that define success in life: The way you manage when you have nothing and the way you behave when you have everything.”
The co-founders of “Akon Lighting Africa” are Samba Baithily and Thione Niang. According to the initiative’s website:
CEO of ADS Global Corporation S.A, Samba Bathily, is an important actor in the Malian economy and has played an important role over the past 20 years in developing a strong private sector in Africa. His Holding Group owns seven subsidiaries (SOLEKTRA INT, AFRITEK, PROXICOM, YIRIWA…), which have a presence in 8 African countries. Samba is one the leaders driving growth in Western Africa today. (source)
And Thione Niang has an amazingly touching and relevant story to this cause:
“Thione Niang is a public servant, speaker and consultant. Born into a family of 28 children in Senegal, Thione arrived in the US in 2000, speaking no English and with $20 in his pocket. He worked as a waiter and sent money home to his family every month while saving up to obtain a college diploma.” (source)
It seems Akon knew what he was doing when he chose his co-founders. Here’s to his new initiative and what is sure to create a great advancement for the impoverished country.
Akon Plans to Light Africa photos courtesy of Akon Lighting Africa