The Akon Lighting Africa initiative will be presenting their project at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Middle East’s largest gathering focused on sustainability, next week.
The American musician, Akon Thiam, launched Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) along with Solektra International co-founders Thione Niang and Samba Baithily. The project aims to bring solar powered electricity to 600 million Africans. The company’s efforts have to date been active in 14 countries on the continent.
Akon Lighting Africa: Disseminating the message
The trio will be presenting to The Student Exclusive, a first-of-its-kind ADSW event dedicated to students studying across the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Akon will participate in an exclusive interview and will address the high schools from around the world who are finalists of the 2016 Zayed Future Energy Prize.
The Akon Lighting Africa initiative founders see ADSW as a key opportunity to build the partnerships that can help deliver sustainable energy for Africa.
Commenting on his participation in ADSW, Akon said: “The urgency of delivering sustainable energy access to the 600 million Africans with no electricity access is the message we took to the Paris Climate Change conference in December.”
He added that ADSW – the first global gathering on sustainability since COP 21 – is portrayed as a great opportunity to transition the historic agreement reached at the UN Climate Summit into action to deliver a brighter future for Africa.
Securing strategic partners
Solektra International’s co-founder and CEO Samba Baithily added: “For us, ADSW is a key platform to broker the connections and public-private partnerships needed to accelerate the electrification of Africa.
“This issue is high on the global agenda. What we need now is direct financing towards the most impactful projects, especially microgrids for rural communities.”
“Sustainable energy is vital for development and inclusive, fast-track growth in Africa. It will determine Africa’s ability to unleash its full potential and improve living conditions,” added Solektra International’s co-founder and vice-president Niang.
In May last year, Akon initiated talks with ADSW and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, when he attended the SE4All summit in New York.
It was at this event that he discussed energy access in Africa with Dikirani Thaulo, a graduate of the Zayed Solar Academy set up by Nkhata Bay School Authority, a Global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize winner in 2014, ALA explained in a statement.
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “Bringing light to Africa is critically important, and ADSW presents the perfect platform to connect those individuals and organisations whose work is focused on achieving this goal.
“Past winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, such as M-KOPA and D.Light.Design, have had significant impact in illuminating hard-to-reach communities in Africa through their pioneering innovations.”