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Shell, Akon Unveil Africa’s First Solar Powered Football Pitch




CELEBRATED music superstar and solar entrepreneur, Akon, joined Shell to shine a light on the power of innovative options for access to smarter energy with the unveiling Africa’s first solar-powered football pitch at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos.

The new pitch is the latest initiative from Shell’s #makethefuture programme, which puts bright energy ideas into action to bring benefits to local communities around the world.

The pitch was refurbished by Shell using over 90 underground tiles that capture kinetic energy created by the movement of the players.

The initiative is part of the Senegalese and Konvict Music chief executive’s continued commitment to teach young Africans the importance of harnessing the power of the continent’s renewable energy, spearheaded through his Akon Lighting Africa, a large-scale effort to develop solar-powered solutions that would provide African communities with access to clean and affordable sources of electricity.

As part of the celebration at the college, Akon and DJ-cum artiste, Philip ‘Hardwork’ Constable, debuted their new song, Tell Me We’re Ok, set to be release next year in an exclusive performance on the pitch.

Speaking at the event, Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria & Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Osagie Okunbor, said multinational firm makes significant contribution to energy solutions for Nigeria and is committed to supporting the Nigerian economy and its people.

“We need bright energy ideas. Some of these will come from Shell, but naturally, others will come from outside our business.

“So it is crucial that Shell supports energy entrepreneurs and we hope that this pitch will inspire more entrepreneurs and young people to help us make a smarter energy future,” he said.

On his part, Akon said: “New, reliable and smarter energy solutions play a major role in driving human progress in Africa.

“Projects like this innovative football pitch draw attention to the major opportunity that Nigeria, as well as the whole of Africa, have if we look to better harness new technologies and the continent’s abundant renewable energy resources.

“This is why Hardwork and I will feature this pitch in our upcoming video for Tell Me We’re Ok, because I want young people, whether they are in Lagos, Los Angeles or London to think about how they too can help us make the future.”

While appreciating the gesture, Provost of the college, Dr. Sijibomi O. Olusanya, said the bright energy idea allows the students to play at night and provides a safer and more secure space at the heart of the community.

He added: “We have more than 10,000 student teachers, who will benefit from this innovative solution to light our football pitch.

“They will be the next generation of teachers across Nigeria and can use their first-hand experience of this pitch to inspire their pupils that they too can work towards developing bright energy ideas that could make a real difference to their community, Nigeria or even the world.

“Not only our students, but also the community that surrounds us will all get to benefit from this pitch for years to come.”

The kinetic energy is stored and combined with power generated by solar panels to operate the floodlights.

Shell LiveWIRE is an international programme that has been a catalyst for young entrepreneurs to develop enterprising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses for over 30 years.

The LiveWIRE programme was launched in Nigeria in 2003 and since then, it has trained over 6,000 youths in enterprise development and management, of whom over 3,000 have been provided with business start-up assistance.

Pavegen founder and CEO and Shell LiveWIRE UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2011, Laurence Kemball-Cook, in his remark said: “Our work with Shell has been pivotal to Pavegen’s growth.

“We got involved with Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard and both programmes have really helped us transition from a start-up to a small company with a 25-strong staff and global IP.

“I am grateful for all the support Shell has given us and hope we can continue to grow in the smart city future.”

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