It’s a heart melting and an inspiring story, music producer, rapper, singer and businessman Akon has provided electricity to 16 million people in Africa and lit up about 15 African countries. His hit songs boomed in nightclubs all over the world and he has been one of the biggest hits in the music industry but his philanthropy has touched the hearts of millions and changed their lives for the better.
Akon grew up in Senegal without electricity and water. His idea of poverty when he came to the United States changed, while people in his country were living in real poverty, the “projects” that he saw that are considered below poverty line in comparison luxurious.
Akon apparently started the venture when he decided to bring electricity to his grandmother’s house. She would always deny it and one day he said he wouldn’t see her again unless she let him hook up electricity in the house. Turns out, no amount of money could really make that happen because the grid was far out. He wanted to help his grandmother and his countrymen because without electricity which was the most basic necessity, one couldn’t really develop a country.
The politics that involved in providing electricity through the government was so complicated that he knew he couldn’t handle it. He started looking for other solutions to the problem. Solar energy was the way to go. The artist met some people in China, some friends of his who he had come to know through his career as an artist and this led to him striking a deal with one of the biggest Chinese companies that is owned by the China government thereby getting a $ one billion credit line from China for his project- all solar powered.
Apparently, American government run by Bush at the time was taxing 200% on all solar energy that came into the country because his interest was in the oil and any renewable energy was a threat to his agenda. So the solar energy from the Chinese government was just sitting there and Akon bagged that opportunity for his Light Up Africa Project.
While his songs have established him as a star in his area of expertise, his work for humanity has proved him to be a commendable human being.