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25 February, 2014 - 14:50 By Tony Quested

Azuri Technologies helps Akon light up Africa

Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri Technologies

Cambridge UK solar pioneer Azuri is technology partner for a key element of an exciting new project in West Africa that aims to bring light into a million homes this year alone.

International recording artist Akon kickstarted the alliance “to bring light to Africa.”

Azuri Technologies’ CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth told Business Weekly: “The initiative is focusing on two areas: solar powered street lighting and solar powered home lighting in West Africa.

“Azuri is the technology partner for the home lighting and the initiative has an ambitious target to light one million homes in remote rural villages in West Africa 2014.

“Following very successful meetings with governmental leaders in West Africa we are now entering the detailed planning/execution phase.”

Azuri took part in a launch ‘9 days, 9 Countries, 9 Presidents’ tour in which the partners of ‘Akon Lighting Africa’ travelled across Senegal, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and the Ivory Coast, to engage with leaders and other key stakeholders to drive the initiative to bring light and power to West Africa.

Within a month, the project plans to start delivering village-level solar power to allow people to have light.

Five-time Grammy Nominated, multi-platinum hip hop singer and producer Akon, said: “Akon Lighting Africa is just the first step to building Africa’s future.

“The lack of electricity is currently a major problem in Africa. A significant number of households in rural areas and even urban cities do not have access to electricity. This is a real obstacle to Africa’s sustainable development.”

In that perspective and within the framework of a public-private partnership, an alliance was signed between the private entities: Akon Corp, SOLEKTRA International - BYD Solar, Azuri Technologies UK, NARI (Member of China Grid Group), CJI, the Non-Governmental Organization Give1Project and the governments of different African nations to support the initiative.

The project will consist of the installation of solar equipment in households and promote their energy sufficiency that also will allow millions of children to have access to electricity and improve their education through extended study hours.

A statement from the partners added: “We believe this initiative to be immediately replicable, scalable, and cost-effective. We believe sustainable energy programs are at the root cause of the social ills that plague Africa – namely infrastructure, education and the economy.

“Through this successful public-private partnership and access to electricity infrastructures can expand, children can become students, and economies will improve through job creation.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri Technologies

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