Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam, who you might know better as Senegalese-American rapper Akon (no seriously his name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam) might be more famous for his ‘Konvicted’ album than he is for sustainable energy research – but you never really know what’s up this maverick man’s sleeve.

Akon Lighting Africa, the company founded by Akon, along with his business partners Samba Baithily and Thione Niang, announced last week at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum that he aims to bring electricity to some of the 600 million Africans who lack it with a new “Solar Academy” for the continent.

The institution, scheduled to open this summer in Bamako, Mali’s capital, will try to give African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power.

The academy will aim to teach people how to install and maintain solar-powered electricity systems as well as micro grids, “which are really taking off in rural Africa,” Akon Lighting Africa said.

Africa has 320 days of sunshine a year, the organization said in a statement, so harnessing solar energy is an ideal way to enable those without electricity to get it. “We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Baithily.

With more than 70 percent of the African continent’s population being under the age of 35 there has never been a greater need for the development of industrial employment activities for the continent.

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