By Robert Stitt
According to Black News, there are over 600 million people living in Africa who do not even have access to electricity let alone the ability to use it. As a point of reference, there are only 350 million people in the entire United States of America.
The lack of electricity affects the ability of many Africans to produce goods the way they could with the support of even early 20th-century technology. In addition to the loss of productivity, the lack of electrical power also impacts their ability to access quality healthcare and medical services. There is also a lack of basic services such as heating and cooling for the home. It is estimated that between three and four million Africans die every year from the pollution caused by burning toxic substances in their homes for fuel and heat.
In an attempt to make a dent in these terrible numbers, the music superstar Akron teamed up with Thione Niang, a Senegalese native raised in Ohio and a current ambassador at the U.S. Ministry of Energy representing minorities in energy, and Samba Bathily from Mali, an African entrepreneur and expert in sustainable clean energy and solar solutions. Together, these three men formed “Akron Lighting Africa” to lay the foundation for a solar-powered Africa.
Black News reports that “In less than one year, thanks to a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners (including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC, and NARI), a wide range of quality solar solutions, including street lamps, domestic and individual kits, have been installed in 14 African countries.”
Many people who have never had electricity can now light their homes without candles, cook without using feces for fuel, and pump water without manual labor. Maintenance, installation, and security jobs have been created which impacts the local economies as well.
When asked about his ultimate goal, Akron said, “Power to empower people: that is our objective!”