Bamako, January 12th, 2017 – Known for launching the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, Solektra International has just announced a major partnership with Sunna Design, starting with the launch of the first solar street lamp assembly line in Bamako, Mali, to be operational as of February 2017. With Sunna Design’s innovative, connected and low energy consuming plant, Solektra International will bring manufacturing capacity to the African continent as part of its new strategy moving forward. The assembly line, which is expected to produce no less than 30,000 solar street lamps per year, will be inaugurated on January 13th alongside the Africa-France Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence.
With this new partnership, Solektra International, currently operating in 17 African countries, is now equipped to become a leading player on the continent. “Products, training and manufacturing: Solektra has a 360° approach, as our objective is to contribute to the development of a genuine solar industry in Africa,” said CEO Samba Bathily. “Sunna Design’s solar street lighting technology is the only one to resist most extreme temperatures like those of our regions. The new assembly line is an asset; we can now transform Mali into a new ‘hub’, capable of supplying all African countries with very diverse and top quality solar equipment.”
In fact, the assembly line developed by Sunna Design offers maximum flexibility, as up to six of the ten workstations can be interchanged, depending on the products to be manufactured. “This approach is a major shift compared to what is in place in most plants,” said Thomas Samuel, CEO of Sunna Design. “There are simple, digital and easy-to-use tools, all designed to support workers. What we developed is a very modern and operator-centric industrial process. Thanks to Solektra International, we can now demonstrate that it is perfectly suited to developing countries “.
Several young technicians from Solektra International were invited to France, in Sunna Design’s Blanquefort headquarters, to receive on-site training. They will then be able to operate the assembly line autonomously in Bamako, and share their knowledge with colleagues. For Akon, co-founder of Solektra International, “skill transfer is a critical aspect in this project, which perfectly complements what we launched a year ago with the Solektra Solar Academy. We are pleased to work with Sunna Design, whose teams are fully aligned with our vision and goals for the African youth.”
Official inauguration of the assembly line by Solektra International and Sunna Design
When: Friday, January 13th, 2017 – 4.00 to 6.30 pm
Where: Solektra International, Africa Headquarters – Industrial zone, Gate 117, Street#935 – BP 2337 – Bamako, Mali
In presence of:
Mr Malick Alhousseini, Minister for Energy and Water, Mali
Mr Samba Bathily, CEO, Solektra International
Mr Akon, Chairman of the board, Solektra International
Mr Thomas Samuel, CEO, Sunna Design
About Solektra international
Incorporated in New York, United States, and with offices in a number of African countries, Solektra International is focusing on two business strategies to promote African development: the use of solar power to provide access to clean water and electricity. Founded by Samba Bathily, Akon and Thione Niang, Solektra International is one of a new generation of African businesses that are investing in driving growth and employment throughout Africa in association with numerous leading international partners. Solektra International currently has a presence in 17 countries – Mali, Senegal, Niger, Benin, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Burkina-Faso, the Republic of Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria, Madagascar, Namibia, Liberia, Rwanda and Kenya.
About Sunna Design
Created in 2011, Sunna Design is based in Bordeaux where about 40 employees design and manufacture innovative solar streetlights adapted to emerging countries. Today, the company has installed more than 8,000 products in about 20 countries. Sunna Design’s objective is to provide a reliable and sustainable solution for self-contained street lighting, which is accessible to all, even in most remote areas of developing countries. Sunna Design has received 8 international awards (MIT, Ernst & Young, La Tribune …), operated with prestigious partners. The company has also filed 14 patents for breaking innovations, especially bin terms of resistance to most extreme temperatures. Sunna Design is now considered as a reference in the field of solar streetlights.
Sunna Design and its partners (Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Immersion, BPI France and CATIE) have decided to develop a unique factory model, primarily adapted to operators. This plant, built around the central role of the operator who is assisted in each of his actions by augmented reality in a modular, ergonomic and fully connected production line convinced the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Future Industry which recently granted the company with a special award.
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About the Solektra Solar Academy
Launched in December 2015 in Bamako, Mali, by Solektra International, the Solektra Solar Academy was created to develop a solar energy work force for Africa. The Solektra Solar Academy aims to build capabilities to support inclusive growth throughout the continent. The Solektra Solar Academy’s training sessions started in February 2016 and are open to all French-speaking Africans. Their success notably results from the fact that they bring together young African technicians and workers in a truly pan-african approach.
About Akon Lighting Africa
Akon Lighting Africa aims to provide tangible solutions to the African energy crisis and create a future for Africa. This initiative launched in February 2014 by international music star Akon, youth leader Thione Niang and entrepreneur Samba Bathily has one clear objective: to use innovative solar solutions to provide villages throughout Africa with access to clean electricity. Thanks to its public-private partnership model and network of world class partners this initiative has rapidly driven a series of high quality solar developments including the installation of street lamps, domestic and community kits in many countries throughout Africa.
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