Akon, the Sengalese-American singing sensation, recently announced that he’s launching a Solar Academy as part of his Akon Lighting Africa initiative.

This professional training centre of excellence is a first on the continent and targets future African entrepreneurs, engineers and technicians. It will open its doors this summer in Bamako, Mali and welcome any Africans wanting to help develop the use of solar power.

This project is being introduced under the patronage of Solektra international, a partner of Akon Lighting Africa, in collaboration with some European experts who will supply training equipment and programs.

The project aims to reinforce expertise in every aspect of installing and maintaining solar-powered electric systems and micro-grids in particular, which are really taking off in rural Africa.

With 320 days sunshine a year, the continent is perfectly suited to the development of solar power, particularly since 622 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.

Speaking at the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4A) Samba Bathily, one of the founders of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative said that they are doing more than just investing in clean energy.

“We are investing in human capital.  We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now” he explained.