*Akon dropped by VladTV to talk about his light up Africa Project, and he mentioned how he grew up living without electricity, which he now believes is a necessity no man, woman or child should go without.

Akon grew up in Senegal, a small country on the West coast of Africa. As you can imagine, not having electricity and running water made it quite challenging to eat, cook, or wash, as he had to use the same water from a running water well for everything.

“When I came to the United States, and [saw] the projects or what they claimed to be projects, Vlad I thought they was living in luxury, compared to what poverty is back home…” Akon explained that the US citizens have it a lot better than others around the world, and many of us may take the simple things in our Western life for granted.

Akon says his grandmother was the main inspiration behind him providing electricity to nearly 80 million Africans. He explained how she never moved from her hometown and still lived without electricity.

“Every time I would come, I would try to upgrade her, but she would never take it… one day I said ma I’m not coming to visit you anymore… you have to at least let me put electricity in the house. Come to find out the grid was so far out; I don’t care how much money I had there was no way I could bring electricity to her.” That’s when he said something had to be done, not just for his grandmother but for everyone in the rural area living without power. “Without electricity, you can’t even begin to develop a country, let alone your own home.”

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Akon got started by partnering with some of his billionaire friends that he made during his singing career, and he used their money, influence and connections to build power plants in the five major areas of Africa so the countries could share the plants.

“I started to realize how deep it was cause this is the type of business that starts real wars, the politics was little heavier than I expected…”Akon explained that the politics behind his venture was too complicated for him, so while searching for alternative solutions, he came across Solar Energy.

“So I went to China, met up with some friends out there, some manufacturers, and aligned myself with one of the biggest companies in China, that’s own by the Chinese Government, that manufactures Solar…”

While working on the project, Akon learned there was a significant tax on solar products due to George. W Bush. “He did it because his main agenda was in oil, he needed the oil to keep burning right, so anything renewable he wanted to keep away because if effected the money.”

Akon took advantage of all the unused solar products, and the Chinese manufacturers gave him a Billion dollar credit line to start his project — which is now in 15 countries. He has provided almost 16 million people in Africa with power and energy.

Check out the clip above.