To this day, there are still 600 million Africans that don’t have access to electricity, particularly in rural areas. Children trying to complete their homework by candlelight and mothers attempting to complete endless tasks before the setting of the sun. Without access to electricity, over 3.5 million Africans die every year from harmful pollutants or fires in the home produced by costly and toxic solid fuels.
American born singer-songwriter Akon rose to fame and fortune in 2004 with his smash hit debut album “Trouble,” however, he calls Senegal his ‘hometown’ and has brought light to 15 countries in Africa. In his early childhood, Akon spent much of his time growing up in West Africa but regularly moved between Senegal and his USA home in Newark, New Jersey, where he would eventually settle.
Fuelled by his childhood memories of a life without light, Akon decided to put his wealth and influence to good use, founding Akon Lighting Africa in 2014. To date, they have $1 billion in credit for new launches, have reached 480 communities in 15 countries, provided over 100,000 solar street lamps and helped create over 5000 new jobs.
Their belief is that light enables children to study and tradesmen to extend their hours after dark, it also makes the roads and streets safer and saves the pollution caused by gas-powered lights and fires. They aim to empower young people in Africa and have their sights set on reaching an additional 30 countries as soon as possible.