The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.

Akon is a Senegalese-American businessman and musician. He’s the only artist to hold the number one and two positions simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts two times. Akon founded Akon Lighting Africa with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang in 2014. Akon Lighting Africa is a public-private partnership venture seeking to bring clean solar energy across Africa.

They’ve reached 15 countries on the continent and installed over 100,000 street-lamps, 1,000 solar micro-generators and 200,000 household electric systems, creating thousands of jobs. On the final day of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, he talks to TRUE Africa.

What do you hope to achieve for Akon Lighting Africa at COP21 in the coming days?

We hope to connect with other organisations that we can partner with and learn a lot from. We want to figure out ways to merge and work together to allow our systems to become more sustainable.

We hope these exchanges will help us gain opportunities and utilise technologies that will strengthen the Akon Lighting Africa project that we set up with our company Solektra International, to be able to be a key force to drive growth on the continent.

What impact do you wish to have on African youth?

Akon Lighting Africa is hoping to provide jobs and educate them with what we know about energy and also put them in a position that enables them to utilise those skills and in the future be able to take care of their families.

Who’s your African of the year?

My African of the year 2015 would probably have to be Tony Elumelu. I am very excited about his creation of a new wave of entrepreneurs in Africa with his Elumelu Foundation.

He’s identified the brightest and smartest African young leaders of tomorrow and given them a platform to be able to exercise that.

Follow Akon Lighting Africa on Twitter @AkonLighting

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