In the wake of COP21 in Paris, and without waiting for ratification of the agreement and its implementation, Mali has seen the inauguration of the Solar Academy Solektra Bamako, designed to support the emergence of a new generation of Africans trained in solar technologies. Present on site, The Bridge Tank welcomed an initiative that focuses on a competent human capital for electrification and development of the African continent.
The singer Akon, the political activist Thione Niang and the serial entrepreneur Samba Bathily, co-founders of Solektra International, the coordinating company of the program Akon * Lighting Africa, officially opened the Solektra Solar Academy in Bamako on 15 December 2015. This training center, whose courses begin in January 2016, will be the first institute in Africa purely dedicated to solar technologies. The director, Patrice Dangang, announced an ambitious program to train 200 skilled workers annually, technicians and engineers from all over the African continent.
Even though energy is the key to develop Africa, 600 million people in Africa still suffer from the lack of access to it, according to the United Nations or International Energy Agency. This initiative has nothing trivial. As explained by Akon, “Solar technologies are cost effective and can be widely implemented to support economic development throughout Africa. Our continent will soon have the means to strive for growth.” To do this, Samba Bathily added, “There must be a sufficiently large and qualified workforce.”
For The Bridge Tank, this inauguration is a very good signal for inclusive economic development. As we have repeatedly stressed, building an inclusive and accelerated growth of the continent is necessary to electrify Africa with potential natural renewable energy. However, this cannot be done without creating national conditions for deployment of these clean energies, in particular the national leadership of technical skills.
Joel Ruet, President of The Bridge Tank, visited Bamako for the inauguration of solar academy and declared, “The inauguration of the Solar Academy is the right direction that Africa needs to undertake”. Without a competent human capital, knowledgeable of realities of African land and readily available, it is difficult to envisage sufficient electrification and conduct mutual growth among African people. “Especially when renewable energy technologies are democratizing, people will recognize the value and it is the reality that Africa must capitalize,” added Joel Ruet.
* About to Akon Lighting Africa
Akon Lighting Africa wishes to provide a practical response to the energy crisis of the African continent and build the future of the region. This initiative, launched in February 2014 by the international artist Akon, Thione Niang, and Samba Bathily has a clear objective: to electrify African villages by innovative, clean and accessible solar solution. Thanks to a model based on public-private partnership and a leading partner network, Akon Lighting Africa has favored the installation of solutions tailored to the needs in less than a year.