Singer Akon wants the hook up. He wants to bring the electricity connection to 600 million people across the African continent. He didn’t have the financial muscle to jumpstart the project alone. The 43-year-old music producer and R&B star sought aid from Chinese investors.So far, the initiative has provided electricity to 16 million people across 15 countries.
He says, “So I went to China,” Akon explains. “I met up with some friends out there, some manufacturers, and aligned myself with one of the biggest companies in China that’s owned by the Chinese Government, that manufactures Solar. He made use of unused solar products and the $1 billion Chinese credit line to get the project rolling.
Akon grew up in Senegal without electricity or running water.
“When I came to the United States, and [saw] the projects or what they claimed to be projects. I thought people were living in luxury, compared to what poverty is back home Akon explained, noting that U.S. citizens have a lot more than other people around the world yet many take such things for granted.The singer said that it’s his grandmother’s living condition that inspired him to start the project. He says his grandmother declined to move from her hometown in spite of his money and fame. She was living in a house without electricity.
“Every time I would come, I would try to upgrade her, but she would never take it one day I said ma I’m not coming to visit you anymore you have to at least let me put electricity in the house. Come to find out the grid was so far out; I don’t care how much money I had there was no way I could bring electricity to her.” And that’s the moment it hit him that something needed to be done, not just for her grandmother, but also in other locations across Africa where people live without electricity. “Without electricity, you can’t even begin to develop a country, let alone your own home,” he says. Visit Akon Lighting Africa website