The Knight Brings the Light

Akon makes his mark in philanthropy after he used six million dollars to put solar panels in West Africa. His decision ultimately gave 600 million Africans electricity and the benefits are endless. 

By Myles Bastain and Alashia Trotter

Many know Akon from hits such as “Lonely” all the way to “Hold My Hand.” Now he’s hitting the headlines again, but rather than music, he’s gaining major buzz from his latest major act of philanthropy. Akon Lighting Africa, a non-profit organization, was established using 6 million dollars of his own money to distribute solar panels in Africa. To bring this project to life, Akon Lighting Africa has partnered with SOLEKTRA INT, a foundation that specializes in energy solutions for Africa, SUMEC, a corporation that issues high quality building materials. and NARI, a professional remodeling organization. Akon’s Lighting Africa mission is to provide African villages with a clean, efficient, and cost effective source of electricity.

Akon is no stranger to helping the less fortunate. Through another non-profit organization that Akon founded, the Konfidence Foundation is dedicated to empowering youth in West Africa and the United States by promoting health and education. Konfidence Foundation also supports impoverished families by providing them with food and  making sure families have good holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.).

"Akon is no stranger to helping the less fortunate"

Akon’s Lighting Africa foundation powered homes, villages, community houses, schools and hospitals in rural areas throughout West Africa, many for the first time. They installed solar panels in 1. Mali, 2.Niger, 3.Senegal, 4.Guinea, 5.Burkina Faso, 6.Sierra Leone, 7.Benin, 8.Guinea Ecuatorial, 9.Gabon, 10. Republic of the Congo, 11. Kenya, 12. Namibia, 13. Madagascar, and 14. Nigeria; (see map for country details) just in case you were wondering how many countries there were.

Education is another area that ALA focuses on heavily. Before the foundation entered the community, many kids were left to play in the streets rather than study because it wasn’t possible to study early in the morning and at night. After visiting these countries, Akon saw an opportunity to change this as he was once one of those kids running through the streets. From his personal experience, he understands how important education is. Now that the solar panels are in place, schools are open longer, helping  create a more educated society.

Akon Lighting Africa’s power move ultimately provided 600 million Africans with electricity. The solar panels created a wave of new jobs for the youth. They learned how to install and maintain solar solutions that required technical expertise. New and existing   businesses can now open earlier, close later, and stay in business longer. That’s only one action of his foundation. Akon’s efforts embody a never-ending mission to spread electricity throughout all of Africa and to better the living conditions for those who live there.