LONDON — Understanding the level of energy access required across such a diverse continent as Africa remains an on-going challenge for potential investors to determine project bankability. Senegalese musician Akon and his partners Samba Bathily and Thione Niang have launched Akon Lighting Africa, an innovative initiative focusing on beyond the grid investment in Africa.

Solektra International will introduce the initiative to delegates attending the Powering Africa: Summit conference in Washington D.C. next week organised by EnergyNet, which focuses on investment into Africa’s power sector.

Simon Gosling, Managing Director of EnergyNet, commented on the success of the initiative: “Having researched Akon Lighting Africa and spoken to nearly 50 highly experienced investors, EnergyNet has reached the following conclusions:

Most importantly, community engagement has played a pivotal role in the success and roll out of the business.
Delivering energy to a large number of citizens is paramount – volume will drive the business case (like an online business model where volume of traffic eventually delivers financial success). This is the reason why Akon Lighting Africa has focused on rural areas – where most of the African population is based.

Akon Lighting Africa has placed access to basic energy, such as solar lanterns to increase education, at its heart – education builds inspiration and inspiration builds economies and increases consumer spending power, not to mention aiding political stability as well.

Lastly, but hugely important also – the initiative is an exceptionally well-run business with clear and simple objectives and a very innovative pre-financing model.

It’s very exciting that Solektra will join Energy Ministers and Director Generals from Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique, DRC, Namibia and Madagascar and more to promote these kinds of creative solutions – after all, it is these leaders who will write and implement the vision of government and be responsible for project realisation.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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