Numerous accolades have been given to award winning singer Akon on his Lighting Africa Initiative which he persistently pursues, funds and champions. Almost single-handedly he has cued the world in to the reality of energy poverty in Africa, but for people who are used to celebrities stretching out a hand to help only when it serves their image, just the bare fact that he has supplied light via solar energy to over 600 million homes in Africa may not do.
Late last year, Akon wrote a post for Huffington Post UK to explain his motivation behind the project. We will quote a little of that article here;
Yet for 622million people in Africa, energy poverty is the norm. Home to one-sixth of the world’s population, Africa receives only 4% of the world’s energy supply.
Growing up in Africa, my partners Thione Niang, Samba Bathily and myself had one daily goal: beating the sun, knowing that life comes to a standstill at sunset. Business and schoolwork stops, streets become dangerous, especially for women and children, and critical medical services come to a halt. Upon leaving Africa, we saw how artificial light enriched innovation, learning and creativity. We each came back to our respective villages to find children still reading by candlelight and the quality of life virtually unchanged.
Inspired by my own childhood I knew that we could electrify Africa now, and we could do it quickly. Africa enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine a year and we are harnessing that energy and bringing it to the continent’s most remote villages.
Considering that post and the awesome progress that has been made in the Akon Lighting Africa Initiative since then, for a project that started up since 2014, Akon continues showing his ongoing dedication to alleviating energy poverty in his home continent. His latest effort was the centering of the new video for his song; ‘Tell Me We’re Okay’ around the energy poverty situation in Africa.
Akon is showing that he will not be easily tired in this quest to light up Africa, so Africa should not get tired of applauding his efforts and hopefully our collective dream for sustainable electricity in Africa will soon be realized.