What are we doing wrong when one man’s effort to help millions is eclipsed by another man’s need to help himself?

False popularity, confusing society.

There have always been measures in place to prevent Africa from mass exploitation, but many methods have been used to no avail. However, the campaign being carried out by the Hispanic R&B artist Akon seems more than promising, yet it is not being given the attention it deserves. On the other hand, a story about a man changing his sex seems to be more of a discussion topic than bringing electricity to the homes of millions of Africans.

Celebrity gender identification is able to ‘break the internet’ yet supplying 600 million Africans with electricity is not considered major news in this day and age. Is there something wrong with our generation, or is this an inevitable tendency of mankind?

‘Let there be light’.

As generations passed we as humans soon discovered the untapped potential of solar energy. Despite having utilised solar energy to produce electricity, it was hard to implement such methods in destitute places like Africa. With the right intentions and a helping hand, famous R&B artist Akon, speaker and international youth leader Thione Niang and entrepreneur Samba Bathily started their own project: Akon Lighting Africa.

The case study will inject $200,000 to support the West African Energy Leaders Group. The meeting to settle the project had gathered all the countries of the West African region. Hence, such a diverse meeting aims to enable political and entrepreneurial leaders to provide energy for everyone, whilst combining both public and private actors through innovative procedures.

Akon’s desire for the project will fulfil the needs of millions of Africans. He commented: ‘The creation of this group brings evidence of a very strong commitment; the countries of the Western African region are ready to tackle the electrification issue and want to work together to identify and propose fast solutions’.

Akon’s vision is a collective dream for many people who are working beside him. He further added: ‘It is the first time ever that countries adopt a 360° vision, looking at all issues all together – regulation, financing, power capacity sharing, regional integration, energy mix. As Africans we are very happy to see this project come to life’.

Entrepreneur Samba Bathily was delighted to work alongside Akon, adding that he was happy to connect Akon Lighting Africa to the West African Energy Leaders Group. He stated that the group are: ‘very interested in our experience and the unique pre-financing model that we have developed’.

Being given access to utilise capital is essential for effective energy strategies and therefore as the West African Energy Leaders Group are solar solution providers, they will be able to guide the team with the aid of financing towards innovative ideas that will help develop new energy strategies. It will be an opportunity to illuminate an audience at an international level. A prepaid model that has been designed to stimulate growth whilst promoting youth employment.

However, such a cause is not being given the attention it deserves. Simultaneously in another continent, discussion about the infamous Bruce Jenner, reality TV star of Keeping up with the Kardashians, is the talk of the town following his sex change operation.

Bruce has been blasted by many celebrities, such as US talk show host Wendy Williams who branded Jenner a ‘Fame wh*re’ before his highly anticipated interview. Snoop Dogg further vented his feelings on Twitter by saying, ‘Shout out to Akon he is about to supply 600 million Africans with solar power. I’m really upset that this is not major news but that science project bruce jenner is #society’.

It’s important to recognise Snoop Dogg’s use of the hashtag, at least some people see the fault in society. The highly anticipated interview revealing Bruce undergoing gender reassignment treatment was tuned in by a staggering 16.9 million viewers!

News that takes everyone by storm is considered the most demographic and most desired by advertisers. To some, the news may seem interesting, to others, not worthy of discussion. In this day and age, as a society we tend to place more attention on the lives of famous people than the suffering of ordinary millions.

As time goes on, there will be new methods for helping to create energy and use it more efficiently in countries that need it. As a mere spectator, I hope such breakthroughs are recognised for what they are, and are not blanketed by news of minor celebrities.


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