Superstar rapper turned social investor Aliaume Thiam, more commonly-known as Akon, co-founded Akon Lighting Africa in 2014 with the objective of providing electricity to millions of African homes through solar energy. His company, backed by the NBA (National Basketball Association), now operates across 15 African nations including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone — employing over 5,000 young Africans who install and maintain solar equipment.
The multi-platinum-selling artist cites his own experiences growing up in the electricity-deprived Kaolack Region of Senegal as impetus for investing in the project, which aims to reach half of the population of Africa. He subsequently launched a solar academy in Bamako, Mali, to teach students about using solar panels.
Akon also founded philanthropic organisation Konfidence Foundation, which aims to empower youth in West Africa and the United States by supporting impoverished families and promoting health and education.
Last year, Akon also signed a deal with the Senagelese government to create AKON CITY — an ambitious, if relatively vague, settlement powered by renewable energy.
The idea is for the city to be built on 2,000 acres of land just outside the Senegalese capital of Dakar. It will consist of 65 villas and has been supported by Senegal’s state-owned tourism company.
In addition, residents will use a new cryptocurrency called Akoin. This changes from other cryptocurrencies as it’s tied to mobile phone minutes instead of a stable currency. As set out by a CNN analyst, people in Africa trust mobile phone minutes and mobile companies more than local currencies.
“I’m targeting Africa specifically because that’s where the need is…,” the singer added to CNN. “One of our biggest issues and biggest problems has always been corruption.
“We want to kill that corruption just through the blockchain itself. Starting with money is the biggest thing: if you follow the money, you follow the truth.”
Akon also says he’s interested in running to become US President in 2024, telling The Real that he was “literally advising 30 African presidents as we speak.”Tags: Africa, Akoin, Akon, cryptocurrency, Senegal