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(Africa) Akon Launches Solar Academy to Help Bring Electricity to Over 600 Million Africans

Akon Gettin’ that Solar Money!

The Akon Lighting Africa Project is an initiative by the Senegalese-American hip hop singer Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam better known as Akon. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Number One selling artist for master ringtones in the world.

Akon, whose Akon Lighting Africa initiative aims to bringing electricity to some of the 600 million Africans who lack it, has announced the launch of a new “Solar Academy” for the continent.

The institution, scheduled to open this summer in Bamako, Mali‘s capital, will try to give African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power. European experts will help supply training equipment and programs.

With about 1 billion dollars credit line for launch from international banks, 15 countries of operation and 480 communities covered. 100,000 solar street lamps, 1,200 solar micro-grids, 102,000 solar domestic kits, about 75,000 dollars per village on average and about 5,500 indirect jobs created,

The academy will aim to teach people how to install and maintain solar-powered electricity systems as well as micro grids, “which are really taking off in rural Africa,” Akon Lighting Africa said.

Africa has 320 days of sunshine a year, the organization said in a statement, so harnessing solar energy is an ideal way to enable those without electricity to get it.

Akon Lighting Africa is a reality in 15 African countries such as Mali, the Republic of Guinea, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Madagascar, Namibia.

“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Baithily, who founded Akon Lighting Africa with Akon and Thione Niang.

Akon stated the biggest challenge in the beginning was getting the governments to understand what we were trying to do with Solar Energy.

Seventy percent of Africans are under 35, and creating sustainable jobs is vital, the group said, so investing in solar power for the future can help in more ways than one.

“We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions,” said Niang. “With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.” The group announced the launch of the academy at the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York.

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