Renewable loan

The Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) initiative has recently announced that they are developing a sustainable power solution to be deployed throughout the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Utilities-me reported.

The initiative was founded by US musician, Akon Thiam, along with Solektra International co-founders Thione Niang and Samba Baithily, who aim to deliver solar powered electricity to 600 million Africans.

With a recent visit to the Middle East to discuss and develop partnerships that will drive investment into the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, Akon said: “We are in the process of developing a major project to deploy microgrids throughout the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in partnership with its centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).

“The objective is to have 15,000 microgrids, which corresponds to 10% of the localities targeted by the ECREEE microgrid plan.”

Akon Lighting Africa seeks strategic partners

Stressing the need for additional credible partners, Akon said: “The more financial partners we can bring, the bigger the financing and the lower the risk for those investing in the project. We are currently in discussions with major donors and financial institutions from whom we expect commitment.

“As a hub for pioneering sustainable energy thought leadership, innovation and investment, fresh ideas and approaches emerging from the Middle East could certainly help in solving Africa’s energy crisis.”

Solektra International, a business to government (B2G) firm founded by the ALA trio, supplies a variety of solar technology equipment including microgrids, solar street lights, solar water pumps and solar systems for homes, public areas and building in rural areas through government programmes and public tenders, Utilities-me reported.

Project financing

Thione Niang, explains: “The business model that we have set up with governments is based on pre-financing. We start from a simple observation that African states cannot always finance a $100 million project in one go.

“We divide this into four equal instalments of $25 million, which most governments can easily include into their annual budgets.

“As a result we would like to adopt a similar approach for the big micro-grid project that we are currently developing for the ECOWAS region.”

Niang added: “The B2G model has projected us as trustworthy partners for governments because it meets their needs, and this puts us in a perfect position to attract new partners given our level of exposure that makes us a gateway to Africa for solar suppliers,” adds Niang.