Popular American musician, Akon, has provided public lighting to the Sareh Pateh village located a few kilometres from The Gambian capital Banjul.
The village of some 4,000 inhabitants turned on street lights for the first time on Sunday. It’s mosque and a pharmacy also benefited from the power project. Akon together with fellow Senegalese Niang and Malian entrepreneur, Bathily; co-founded Akon Lighting Africa initiative.
The gesture is in line with Akon’s project to light up Africa. Launched in 2014, the ‘Akon Lighting Africa’ initiative aims at electrifying rural areas in Africa using solar energy. Gambia’s Interior Minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty, was a special guest at the event.
The Senegalese-born star arrived in The Gambia over the weekend and attended a youth empowerment forum organized by his partners at a plush hotel in the capital. Akon’s entourage also met with President Adama Barrow during his working visit.
“Now is the time for us to really focus. And I think if we focus and we give ourselves ten years of focus, development and unity, I guarantee you on everything I love, we will succeed,’‘ Akon told a gathering to a round of applause.
The initiative has been saluted by the rural communities. Akon told reporters he wants to leave a legacy adding that “Africans work harder in everything and even harder to live and sustain themselves
Two years ago, the award-winning artist, real name – Aliaune Damala Bouga, launched the mega-solar project aimed at providing electricity to some 600 million Africans.
The initiative primarily targets rural communities that are not connected to the electricity and also seeks to find ways to bring costs down to make power supply more affordable.
AN engineer who worked on the project also thanked the initiative for their gesture. “Thank you very much. I think this is a very timely initiative. It’s a very important project in the sense that without energy there can’t be any development.
‘‘So it is very timely and it’s a very cost-effective solution and I’m very happy that it involves training of youth which is going to create jobs. So that’s what the country needs,” he added.