The American singer, Aliaune Thiam Damala, better known as Akon, in partnership with the Mozambican association Machel Fidus, has agreed to inject US$50 million into a project to electrify rural areas in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala through solar power. Mozambique is the first southern African country to establish a partnership with Akon in the continent-wide project known as Akon Lighting Africa.
Machel Fidus describes itself as “a Mozambican non-profit organisation, led by a strong-willed, sharp-minded, motivated and dynamic young team of entrepreneurs, which aims to promote and implement long-lasting sustainable social development projects in Mozambique”. Akon himself, who is of Senegalese origin, told the launch ceremony that Mozambique, like other African countries, needs a system of renewable energies, particularly in the countryside, which can create opportunities for young people.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, launched the project in Maputo recently, stressing that the partnership should make a contribution to increasing the availability of electricity for communities. He said the project intends to respond to the energy challenges of African countries, through implementing an innovative solution that should lay the foundations for sustainable development in the rural areas.
Malenga Machel said that, in order to comply with its programme in Mozambique, Akon Lighting Africa needed to set up a partnership with the publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, and with the government’s National Energy Fund (FUNAE). Cooperation with these Mozambican bodies was essential to the success of the project.
Akon Lighting Africa is already being implemented in 11 countries, including Kenya, Senegal, Mali, Gabon, and Guinea-Conakry.