The American singer, Aliaune Thiam Damala, better known as Akon, in partnership with the Mozambican association Machel Fidus, has agreed to inject 50 million US dollars into a project to electrify rural areas in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala through solar power.
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”. Its founder and chairperson is Malenga Machel, the youngest son of the country’s first President, Samora Machel.
Mozambique is the first southern African country to establish a partnership with Akon in the continent-wide project known as Akon Lighting Africa.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, launched the project in Maputo, stressing that the partnership should make a contribution to increasing the availability of electricity for communities.
“Health, education and water supply systems need electricity, if they are to function”, she said, “and the lack of electricity brings a low level of development”.
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.
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 for the success of the project.
Akon Lighting Africa is already being implemented in 11 countries, including Kenta, Senegal, Mali, Gabon and Guinea-Conakry.
The initiative joins the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015.