The Akon Lighting Africa initiative founded by Akon, Thione Niang and Samba Bathily recently announced the creation of a “Solar Academy” to develop skills and expertise in this field in Africa.
Based in Bamako, Mali, the Solar Academy is a first on the continent and targets future African entrepreneurs, engineers and technicians and will open its doors this summer to all Africans wanting to help develop the use of solar power.
“We expect the Africans who graduate from this center to devise new, innovative, technical solutions. With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further,” Thione Niang said.
Akon Lighting Africa is working with Solektra international, in collaboration some European experts who will supply training equipment and programs. It aims to reinforce expertise in every aspect of installing and maintaining solar-powered electric systems and micro-grids in particular, which are really taking off in rural Africa. With its 320 days sunshine a year, the continent is perfectly suited to the development of solar power, particularly since 622 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.
“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to and that is our objective” explained Samba Bathily at the SE4All. “We are doing more than just investing in clean energy. We are investing in human capital. We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now” he added.
With 70% of the population aged under 35, Africa is the continent with the youngest population today. One of the biggest challenges it faces is training and creating sustainable employment.
Akon Lighting Africa will provide training and create jobs enabling local populations to embrace technical solutions and become self-sufficient. The Solar Academy aims to use this business model and promote inclusive growth throughout Africa.