Singer Akon is looking to making a difference in his home continent of Africa.
The “Locked Up” singer recently started an initiative called Akon Lighting Africa that plans to bring light to 600 million Africans that currently lack electricity.
During a recent speech at the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy For All forum, the 42-year-old laid out his plans to bring power to rural homes throughout Africa, as well as put together a solar energy job-training program in Bamako, Mali. Recalling his childhood of living in a home with little to no electricity, Akon told the panel that he knows what it’s like “to be in a position without light and go days without eating.”
Once open, the training program will give African engineers and business professionals the opportunity to become self-sufficient and harness solar power on their own.
“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Akon Lighting Africa co-founder Samba Baithily.
The organization’s other co-founder, Thione Niang, says the plan is to stay on the cutting edge of technology and improve upon it.
“We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions,” Niang says. “With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.”