Since his apology in 2007, Akon has been in the news for all the right reasons. The rapper recently announced a crypto-currency, Akoin, which he says could be Africa’s saviour if properly combined with the Blockchain. However, what grabs our attention is his Akon Lighting Africa project.
Akon, along with Thione Niang (his partner) grew up in Kaolack Region, Senegal, a town without electricity. The duo decided to help drive Africa’s transformation by providing electricity through their solar power company, Solektra International. The company began operations in February 2014 and has since gone on to provide electricity in 15 African countries. Solektra Int. also employs over 5500 persons and owns an academy that trains people on solar energy and panels.
The company has structured solar deals worth $1 billion and has gone on to provide 100,000 solar street lamps, 102,000 solar domestic kits. It also runs 1,200 solar micro-grids. It works with local banks and governments to develop public-private partnerships to finance solar projects. Solektra also partners with charities. For example, the company partnered with the Lanyi Foundation and the Healy foundation.
Akon Lighting Africa in Nigeria
Interesting, Akon’s Lighting Africa project in Nigeria is not solely solar powered. HE partnered with Shell to launch a football pitch in Akoka, Lagos. The pitch, which is located at the Federal College of Education is made with more than 90 underground kinetic tiles.
These kinetic tiles capture kinetic energy from the players as they move on the pitch and helps to power the overhead floodlights. The tiles are an invention of a young British entrepreneur and founder of Pavegen, Laurence Kemball-Cook. The generated energy can also be stored.
Other Pavegen Projects
The pitch at the Federal College of Education is not the first pitch to have its floodlights powered by Kinetic tiles. A pitch is Brazil was the first player-powered football pitch. The technology is further used in high foot traffic locations like Heathrow Airport and a train station in France to power LED lights and light seating areas with 2 USB ports respectively.
Though very innovative and highly sustainable, the technology does not come cheap. One tile (600 x 450mm) costs about $465 when ordered to scale.
Akon says this is not a charity program. The program is expected to bring some profit in the future. It aims to help the people and further empower them. Akon’s Lighting Africa project is providing huge solutions to improve living conditions in several communities across Africa.
Akon has taken the initiative to solve the electricity crisis in Africa, do you think other celebrities can follow suit? What form of sustainable energy can they use? Share your thoughts and comments…