RAP­PER AKON SEEKS UAE HELP TO LIGHT UP AFRICA

AKON looks to Dubai so­lar firms for Africa project

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - shoshana@7days.ae

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

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