Grammy Award winner, multi-platinum artist, and founder of Akon Lighting Africa initiative, Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam was the recipient of an award at the Global Citizen Forum in Montenegro. The forum recognised his work in renewable energies in Africa and in inspiring millions of people worldwide.
“With Akon Lighting Africa, our goal is to electrify all 48 countries that need electricity in Africa,” Akon said ahead of the Gala night.
He was motivated to set up the initiative by his grandmother’s refusal to move from the place she called home. Since there was no electricity and she lived quite a distance from the grid, the solar solution was the answer.
Launched in February 2014, the Akon Lighting Africa initiative is active in 17 countries including his home country Senegal. The project involves the electrification of African countries by providing street lamps, solar micro generators, and household electric systems at various localities.
The initiative has set up private-public partnerships and partnerships with governments to oversee the project, which is beneficial to the continent. Not only is the project clean and environmentally-friendly it is also a source of employment through direct and indirect jobs for the youth.
The Global Citizen forum in Montenegro brought together ministers and politicians of various states, founders, heads and representatives of major international organizations, investors, lawyers, journalists, photographers, famous actors and directors, show business stars and other influential people.
The focus of this year’s forum was on increasing the awareness and funding support for the Caribbean and to highlight new global challenges the world is facing today.
In an interview at the Forum, Akon called for the world to come together to have conversations on the world problems and find solutions for them.
— Global Citizen Forum (@GlobalCitizenFo) October 19, 2017
“I think ultimately if we just realised that every problem could be eliminated by a simple conversation and us agreeing upon that this is the best thing for us to do minus the business side of it, because I think our well-being should always take precedence over making a dollar, then we can survive this. And I think ultimately when you live in a life that has borders, it already starts to create a division that creates the problem in itself. So we get rid of the borders, collectively unite and I think things will be better.”