But his idea was completely denied by the government.
If you know anything about Akon, you know he’s contributed a lot to the world outside of founding Konvict Musik which has been behind the careers of artists such as Red Café and Lady Gaga in the past. In 2014, Akon founded “Akon Lighting Africa” a company which aims to provide electricity via solar energy to African countries.
Recently, the artist shared with TMZ that the company he founded with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang, made an attempt to restore electricity back to Puerto Rico after the island was struck by Hurricane Maria on September 20, leaving the entire U.S. territory without any power. He says his offer was rejected by the government at the time:
“We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico and we got rejected. We have the solution for Puerto Rico…. and we could’ve had power back in 30 days. And they rejected us.”
He noted that his company could’ve restored power back to the island within 30 days of it’s loss if the U.S. government truly had the best interest of the territory’s residents and visitors at heart:
“It’s politics, propaganda, and special interests. They didn’t care about the people—if that was the case, they would have allowed us to go in and provide the solution.”
Newsweek reports that presently power has been restored to 83.8 percent of Puerto Rico, but top officials are still frustrated with the recovery process after Hurricane Maria. During an interview with the Pentagon last Wednesday, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, shared his dissatisfaction:
“If somebody were to say, ‘How come you can’t do this in 25 days?’—we can get 95 percent of this done, in say 6 months, but now we are doing things by helicopter because it is that hard to make some of that happen.”
In October of last year Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rossello expressed the goal was to restore 95 percent of the island’s power by December 15. The goal was unsuccessful.
Since it’s creation, Akon Lighting Africa has brought electricity to 14 African countries and has operations established in 11 countries including including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone.
You can see Akon talk with TMZ about his proposed program below: