high-profile international musician and entrepreneur, Akon (Alioune Badara
Thiam), Thione Niang - Give1 Project Founder, Samba Bathily - CEO ADS Group,
co-founders of AKON LIGHTING AFRICA, on 4 and 5 March 2017 made an official
visit to The Gambia.
The purpose of their visit was to pay a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow, as part of the AKON LIGHTING AFRICA Project tour, to launch the donated pilot solar project site at Sare Pateh Jamwelly in Kombo North district, and partake in a Give1 Project Gambia Youth Empowerment Talks centered on the theme: “The role of young people in the development of a New Gambia”.
Akon Lighting Africa is an initiative to bring clean, renewable and affordable energy solutions primarily to rural and off-grid areas in Africa.
The goal of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative is to provide solutions to the energy crisis in Africa through innovative, clean and accessible solar solutions, including street lamps, home-based solar kits, pre-paid micro-grids, lamps and recharge stations.
Akon and the Africa Lighting Project team paid a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow at his residence to introduce the project, and had closed-door discussions towards ushering the project on a wider scale across The Gambia.
The Gambia’s first Akon Lighting Africa Solar Pilot Project is a donation of equipment to the Gambia government worth an estimated D5 million.
The donated equipment consists of 20 solar street lights, life straw water filtering system for a local school, solar system for the school, a local health center, mosque, market area and, through its partnership with Unique Solutions, a community centre equipped with a satellite TV, Internet connectivity and charging stations for mobile phones for the community of Sare Pateh.
The project when fully rolled out across The Gambia envisages creating over 1000 direct and indirect jobs for the young people of The Gambia, by training those young people in their communities to install and manage these solar installations, accompanied by entrepreneurial business models to generate revenue and improve livelihoods across communities in The Gambia.
Through a partnership between Akon Lighting Africa, the Gambia Government, Unique Solutions, Give1 Project Gambia, Ministry of Energy,
NAWEC, GreenLink Gambia, LG Gambia, Unique Foundation and the community of Sare Pateh Jamwelly, a town of more than 4000 inhabitants has
been lit up after being in darkness for over 60 years.
At the launching ceremony, His Excellency the President of the Republic of The Gambia - Adama Barrow, was ably represented by the Minister of the Interior Honourable Mai Ahmad Fatty.
In delivering the presidential statement, the minister said: “As we are all aware, energy has been a great challenge to The Gambia, and we are happy to encourage any meaningful project that will assist in improving the situation. Indeed, clean renewable energy is the way forward, and it is great to see the likes of Akon, Thione and their Gambian host Papa Yusupha Njie driving this initiative throughout The Gambia.”