Akon Lighting Africa is an initiative started by Solektra International to bring clean, renewable and affordable energy solutions primarily to rural and off-grid areas in Africa.
The goal of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative is to provide solutions to the energy crisis in Africa through innovative, clean and accessible solar solutions – including: street lamps, home-based solar kits, pre-paid micro-grids, lamps and recharge stations.
What makes the Akon lighting Africa initiative so unique is first and foremost the fact that this project has been developed by children of the continent. Akon, Samba Bathily and Thione Niang know very well, for instance, that many solar projects have failed in the past for lack of maintenance - hence their objective to include it as part of the equation from the very beginning. They also know how energy solutions make a difference in households as they remember how they had to beat the sun every day to do their homework. The Akon Lighting Africa initiative will focus on collective equipment (ie public lighting and kits for use in public areas and schools) as part of a strategy aimed to support economic development within communities. This will allow small businesses to remain open at night and work more effectively with reliable energy sources during the day. Empowerment is the ultimate goal that can be reached through wider energy access.
The founders of Akon Lighting Africa also understand the challenges of governments and households in Africa, who cannot always commit huge sums in advance and therefore, have developed a proven pre-financing model.
Pre-financing: Thanks to credits from partnering banks, the Akon Lighting Africa initiative can provide prepaid clean energy. Credits can be refunded by governments which can then be paid back through installments.
Affordable energy: Through the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, Solektra International is also developing a service model that should allow for users to pay less than what is spent collectively on candles - ideally less than $10 a month per household for access - through home-based kits.
As a result, the Akon Lighting Africa initiative prides itself on fast delivery/speed to market, the transfer of skills to Africa by partnering with world class experts, and providing quality solutions at affordable costs. This model is considered as a best case study and easy to replicate. It changed perceptions about the African energy crisis - as it demonstrated that this crisis could be easily solved. The three partners are now being invited outside of Africa to present their approach to governments in other regions of the world - especially Latin America and India where there is also a critical need for clean energy sources.