Akon with his partners are in The Gambia to launch his project Akon Lightening Africa (ALA). A small village called Sarreh Patay Jamwally(never heard of it) was chosen as a pilot scheme for the kinetic electrification project in The Gambia.
Few personal thoughts and questions surrounding ALA project as follows:(1)Is ALA really about “bringing hope to millions and ultimately giving Africa a better future”,or a stark contrast from the ideals we look towards as positive? (2)Some say that Akon is”being used–perhaps knowingly–as a pawn for Chinese economic interests.”Is ALA merely a wolf in sheep’s clothing then for imperialism that is coming to the continent ?
(3)Is Akon with his partners neatly LINING UP AFRICA TO LINE UP THEIR POCKETS instead of LIGHTING AFRICA, or genuinely about the promise of bringing lights to the 600 million in the continent?( I wonder where that number came from)
Whatever your thoughts are,here are few facts worth considering.
Firstly, Akon Lightning Africa is a project funded by China Jiangsu International,which facilitated a $1 billion credit line for the project. Jiangsu provides solar arrays and BILLS AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS , ALLOWING THEM TO PAY BACK THE OUTLAY IN THREE TO FIVE YEARS WITH INTEREST. Basically, taxpayer will be funding the project and not a philanthropic or charity mission as many people would have thought. According to the ALA website,the average investment per village is $75,000 USD
Could one really consider it even ethical to be loaning money to a country that IS NOT wealthy enough to pay for the project up front? I leave that to you to decide.Thirdly,Akon was quoted by the media saying “him and his partners put in their own cash at first, and now Jiangsu and other investors have done the same; he says they’ll share profits after the initial outlay gets paid back. It’s not yet clear how much he’ll be making on the arrangement, but in any case, it’s unwise to underestimate the Senegalese-American singer”,I supposed ?
Akon’s remarks on ALA’s methods for persuading leading African politicians is indeed chilling and very worrying: He told www.globalatlanta.com that:
”This is in reference to reports that ALA has resorted to “manipulating” the electoral system in countries where they plead their case. Often, ALA has pitched to these officials right around the time they are campaigning in an election.Using the villages they have already invested in as an example, they lean upon the candidates to pressure them to include it in their campaign promises. Akon was quoted saying: “Once that village was lit up, now the neighboring villages would bring pressure to the government and ask those same questions, ‘How come we ain’t lit up?’ An online news source reported. Was this the reason Sarreh Patay Jamwally was chosen for the pilot project in The Gambia?
In conclusion,if The Gambia government decides to invest in solar energy which I thought will be a brilliant idea. I hope they weight and balance in their options and engage with the latest and greatest in solar power technology being used worldwide,instead of getting manipulated into being a dumping ground for a cheap production.
I wish Akon and his partners a successful and enjoyable stay in The Smiling Coast of Africa.