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by Nduta Waweru, at 06:00 am, October 02, 2018, Diaspora Connect

After Senegal’s futuristic city, Akon invests in a new project in Sierra Leone

Photo: Presidency Sierra Leone

It seems Senegalese-American singer, producer and businessman, Akon, is pretty busy.

In June, he announced the plans of building a futuristic city in Senegal that will use cryptocurrency. The city will be located on a  2,000-acre piece of land gifted to him by the country’s president.

Now, Aliaume Damala Badara Akon, as he is known, is heading to Sierra Leone for a new project.

According to Sierra Leone’s state house communication, the singer will invest in a “5,000 solar street lights and 2,500 traffic lights to support President [Julius Maada] Bio’s New Direction agenda in Sierra Leone.”

“The huge commitment by Akon to provide 5,000 solar street lights and 2,500 traffic lights has shown that President Bio’s impressive leadership within six months is galvanizing international goodwill to improve the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. The international community has reposed confidence in a President who continues to demonstrate passion to effect real change and rebrand his country,” said the press secretary and presidential spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi.

For Akon, meeting with President Bio was a step in the right direction as they “speak the same language” when it comes to technology and development in Africa.

“Meeting with a lot of the younger presidents has been really motivating because my biggest challenge was getting presidents to understand the vision and with him, we speak the same language,” he said.

Aside from the solar project, President Bio also invited the American musician to help the government rebrand and market Sierra Leone’s potential to boost tourism and investment.

The project is part of Akon’s Lighting Afrika Project, which aims to provide a concrete response to Africa’s energy crisis and to laying down a foundation for future developments. It also aims at increasing electricity generation and supply in Africa by exploiting and harnessing the continents untapped solar energy potential.

The initiative to supply solar energy to African homes was inspired by the need to light up his grandmother’s house back in Senegal.

“It was a way of just trying to figure out what solution would be necessary to get electricity there,” Akon said.

“In the process, you start to realize how many people are out there lacking electricity, especially in Africa.”

The initiative, which was started in 2015, has so far managed to raise $1 billion to finance the various solar lighting projects across African countries including Mali, the Republic of Guinea, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Namibia.

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