Although the news hasn’t broken the internet, Senegalese-American singer, producer and humanitarian Akon is planning a to provide sustainable solar energy to 600,000,000 people in Africa.

Akon Lighting Africa, the artist’s initiative that also bears his name, will headquarter the Solar Academy in Bamako, Mali. It will teach its students  African engineers and entrepreneurs  how to maintain solar-powered electricity systems and microgrids.  These types of systems have been rapidly growing in Africa’s rural areas.

akon solar initiative akon lighting africa

The continent has 320 days of sunlight a year, so learning how to better harvest and utilize this natural resource can also create jobs across several African countries.

Energy costs are a burden for several African households. In Sub-Sahara Africa, for instance, over 63% of the population is rural and living off of small, inconsistent income. Yet, they spend a bulk of their money, up to 70%, on low-quality, inefficient energy. In other parts of Africa, as the Akon solar initiative explains, hundreds of millions are living in rural areas with no electricity at all. Solar energy is sparking what some are calling a “solar revolution” as the natural resource for the continent is being seen as not just an energy source but also a viable business opportunity.

The future of emerging markets are looking very bright. Thanks to #akonlightingafrica (2)

A photo posted by Akon Official (@akon) on


According to Reuters, Green Energy Africa helped 200 Maasai women from Kenya’s Kajiado County become solar power entrepreneurs:

“The women, trained in solar panel installation, use donkeys to haul their solar wares from home to home in the remote region, giving families their first access to clean and reliable power.

‘For us, the impact of solar technology is unparalleled,’ said Jackline Naiputa, who heads the Osopuko-Edonyinap group, one of the five women’s groups leading the alternative energy charge in the area.”

Samba Baithily, a co-founder with Akon and Thione Niang of Akon Lighting Africa, shares, “We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise.”