Akon Lighting Africa

In February of 2014, Grammy-nominated R&B/hip-hop singer/songwriter and rapper Akon, political activist Thione Niang and entrepreneur Samba Bathily launched Akon Light­ing Africa, an initiative that aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity. Now, almost two years later, 100,000 street-lamps, 1,000 solar micro-generators and 200,000 household electric systems have been installed across 14 African countries.  The installation of these lights makes public spaces safer, allowing businesses to conduct sales longer, children to study and learn longer and provide jobs for many people who work to install and maintain the lights.


Akon, who is known for his suggestive club anthems, was born in St. Louis but spent most of childhood growing up in West African nation of Senegal. “I was one of those kids you see run­ning around with no shoes on liv­ing in straw huts,” Akon said in an interview with the National Journal. “I was blessed to be able to come to the U.S. with my dad and I’ve seen a bet­ter life, but it really hurts a lot know­ing that Africa has all these re­sources and we haven’t fully taken ad­vant­age of it.”


But Akon, who is also a successful business man and founder of two successful record labels, sees this as an economic opportunity as well.  “I get tired of hear­ing that Africa is a char­ity case,” Akon mentioned in the same interview.  “Africa is wide open for busi­ness, and we’ve found a good busi­ness mod­el. Africa will nev­er run out of sun.”

Learn more about the musical mogul’s work here.


About UNA-GB

Founded over sixty years ago, the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) is dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and work of the UN among the Greater Boston community. We serve as a resource on the broad agenda of critical global issues addressed by the United Nations and its agencies: peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian relief, economic development, and education.

Posted on December 9, 2015, in Global Learning, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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