There is a story that didn’t get anywhere near the attention that it should have. A Black man endeavors to address the African energy crisis and provide energy to 1 million people this year and potentially 600 million people over the course of the programs lifespan. And this man is a Hip Hop artist no less.
A vast amount of the rural areas of Africa are off the power grid. These areas do not have access to electricity. Eskom, a state owned company provides 95% of Africa’s energy. 90% of Eskom’s energy production comes from thermal power stations that run on fossil fuels which is neither environmentally healthy or infinite in resource. Recently areas to which it does supply power have begun to experience outages as the company struggles to continue to meet the demands of the country. What we know and take for granted in America is that energy is necessary for economic growth and a country’s development. Without an adequate energy supply a country cannot engage let alone compete in the global market and economy.
While many of the cities in Africa are able to receive power because they have the necessary infrastructure and financial resources, there is a vast number of rural areas that are not on the power grid because of limited resources and lack of infrastructure to provide power. These areas contribute to 3.5 million deaths each year from house fires and and harmful pollutants that people in these areas resort to using in order to provide light and heat to their homes.
Akon Lighting Africa
Africa, as a country, has begun to explore other forms of energy besides fossil fuels in an effort to meet the demands of the country and to bring relief to the strain on Eskom. However, actually utilizing these energy alternatives will take capital that the country does not have.
Akon who is from Senegal and grew up without electricity. He knows first-hand what the people in this country are enduring and he is determined to do something about it for the future of Africa. That is where he has endeavored to start his Akon Lighting Africa initiative to create a solar academy that will teach students every aspect of installing and maintaining solar-powered electric systems and micro-grids. This is significant because in parts of Africa where resources are limited, micro-grids are low usage easy to install option for generating power. The academy is located in Bamako, Mali and it will help prepare African engineers to develop the skills necessary to provide electricity for over 600 million people.
I thought it was just basic common sense because when you look at Africa there’s a huge power situation – one thing you don’t realize about Africa is that we will never run out of sun so it’s like energy is right in front of you.
I saw how Africa was developing and how the Chinese were in there actually taking full control and I wanted to be a part of the building of Africa because ultimately if we, as Africans, don’t rebuild and create our own future then we’ll just be completely alienated from how Africa is supposed to be built and have no say.
The project is by no means a small endeavor; however, the benefits will be monumental. Not only will improve the quality of lives for millions it is also a clean energy project that can be used as an prototype for other under developed countries who are in need of energy. The best part is that this project wouldn’t just supply energy in Africa, it would invest in the country’s human capital and provide them with the individuals who live in the country who can provide future sustainability and innovation. Any true Hip Hop head knows that the foundation of Hip Hop is about taking of one’s community and empowering them to overcome the obstacles of economic lack. It’s about being socially engaged and creating for the future. That’s Hip Hop. Big ups to Akon!
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man