RAPPER AKON SEEKS UAE HELP TO LIGHT UP AFRICA
AKON looks to Dubai solar firms for Africa project
Superstar rapper AKON is in Dubai to find solar energy companies to work alongside him on his Lighting Africa project, writes Shoshana Kedem.
The American music mogul and philanthropist joined global energy leaders at the World Green Economy Summit yesterday to broker the connections and public-private partnerships needed to accelerate the electrification of Africa, he told 7DAYS.
“We’re here for the World Green Economy Summit to see how we can collaborate with solar companies and ascertain people to move our initiative forward, because partnership will be the key of our growth,” he said.
Last year, the 43-year-old artist teamed up with Malian entrepreneur Samba Bathily and Senegal youth leader Thione Niang to set up Solektra International. The project aims to bring solar power grids to off-grid villages that lack access to electricity.
AKON said Dubai is a key platform to find partners who share his vision to power rural Africa.
He said: “There’s a number of them who are more than capable, it’s just a matter of who has the interest there. Our motto is, if you have to sell it to someone, they’re the wrong partners.
“It has to be people who see the vision the way you see it, and that always makes for better partners.”
Solektra is especially interested in companies “focused on renewable energy” and “non-toxic projects” that preserve Africa’s “clean and green” environment, and has already registered some interest from solar industry pioneers. He added: “We want to take advantage of all the newest technology that’s out there.”
The summit continues today.
HANDS UP: AKON’s Lighting Africa project has provided electricity to 15 countries