You might have wondered where Akon is? He has almost vanished from the music scene, but that’s a truth with modifications. His record label Konvict Kartel have had artists like T-Paine (still signed to Konvict Kartel), Lady GaGa and French Montana. While he has not been very active himself on the music scene, he has defiantly had his share of influence.
The good thing is, he is now doing better things than music. Over the last 4 years, he has started an energy company with the vision to lighten Africa through solar power. According to an interview done by CCTV, the whole project started when he tried to get power to his grandmothers house. In the process of finding a solution for his grandmother, he realized the big issue that rural parts of Africa has in regards to power. The infrastructure in these rural parts of Africa is not in place. The one resource they have plenty of, is sunlight. Thats exactly what Akon has taken advantage of in his work over the last 4 years. This is not a charity, its a real company whose goal is to make a lot of money. The business case is to provide streetlights and small energy systems from solar energy. The project is named “Akon Lightning for Africa” and is in cooperation with Solektera International.
This is not a dream or just an idea on paper. Its happening right now, according to Wikipedia, they are now represented in over 14 African countries and employs over 5000 people. In CCTV`s interview, Akon is clear that the ambition is to be represented in all African regions. Akon hopes to to give more then 45 million africans electricity in just a few years.
“Akon Lightning for Africa” has been criticized by many, because China is heavily involved in the project. The reason is quite simpel. China is the worlds largest producer of solar power and solar power equipment. While the western world have been busy with oil and gas, China has been building and innovating the solar energy technology. Both the United States and the EU created some heavy restrictions on importing solar technology from China. This was after Chinese companies had already produced units and technology for them. Akon managed to strike a significant deal with China on these products, in terms of a line of credit on close to 1 billion dollars. The money is being paid back as they go, so the units will in fact finance them self. China is a big and key player in Africa at moment from everything to farming, building infrastructure and even commercial fishing licenses. They have been accused of exploiting the region.
We wish Akon good luck on his project and hope that this is just the start of something big. Having electricity should not be a problem for anyone, rich or poor in 2017.