Akon Lighting Africa

Akon Lighting Africa is a project started in 2014 by music artist Akon with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang which aims to provide electricity by solar energy in Africa.[2][3][4] Their initial technique is to install solar street lights and small energy systems.[5]

Akon Lighting Africa
Akon Lighting Africa.png
Mission statementProviding Africans with access to electricity
Type of projectNon Commercial
LocationNations in Africa
EstablishedFebruary 2014
FundingChina Jiangsu International Economic And Technical Cooperation Group[1]


According to Akon (Aliaune Thiam, born in Missouri), he and Thione Niang grew up in Kaolack Region, Senegal, in a town without electricity. In 2013 both decided to help drive Africa’s transformation. Samba Bathily joined them and provided targeted solutions through his company, Solektra INT, which supplies solar-powered equipment. By combining their networks, they launched the project in February 2014. Their initial technique is to install Solar street lights and small energy systems.[5]

The projects provided electricity in 14 African countries as of 2015 and employed over 5000 people, and Akon said they have reached 1 million households in African nations with their projects.[1] The employees, newly trained, were mainly young people who install and maintain solar equipment.[6] This initiative has taken advantage of the tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese solar panels, leaving the Chinese manufacturers with stock to sell, by lining up credit with China Jiangsu International Economic And Technical Cooperation Group to finance purchase of solar equipment, which allows the nations participating in the project to bypass World Bank loans to get a project started in their own nation.[1]

In an interview, Akon estimated that they have reached 100,000 households and installed 13,000 streetlights.[7] Their approach is to speak with officials at the national level as to villages that are likely for pilot projects in that nation.[7] Once a pilot project is successful, other villages will want the same amount of street lighting and household electricity.


Since launching in 2014, Akon's group has operations in 14 nations, including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone.[8]

Solar AcademyEdit

The group announced the launch of the solar academy in Bamako, Mali, at the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum, in New York City. Solar Academy will teach students about using solar panels by which they can light Africa.[9][10] Samba Bathily told in an interview: "We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise and that is our objective."[11] New cooperations are being built with international researchers to boost energy transition in Africa.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Williams, Trevor (June 1, 2015). "Singer Akon's Unconventional Keys to Social Investing in Africa". Global Atlanta. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "Akon unveils new solar campaign for Africa". Insight News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "Akon lights Africa for better future". enca.
  4. ^ "Musician Akon works to light up Africa". CNN. June 8, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Saldinger, Adva (November 25, 2015). "Inside Akon Lighting Africa". Devex. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Three men backing one mission: widening the access to electricity". 2017. Archived from the original on 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  7. ^ a b Thibault, Folly Bah (February 5, 2015). "Akon talks to Folly Bah Thibault". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Map of Projects". Akon Lighting Africa website. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "Akon to light up Africa". GhanaWeb. Archived from the original on 2015-06-12.
  10. ^ "Akon Lighting Africa Moves Towards Bringing Electricity To 600M People". AFK Insider.
  11. ^ d'Estries, Michael (June 3, 2015). "Akon creates institution to educate solar engineers in Africa". MNN. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Louis Boisgibault, Fahad Al Kabbani (2020): Energy Transition in Metropolises, Rural Areas and Deserts. Wiley - ISTE. (Energy series) ISBN 9781786304995.

External linksEdit