Modu Seye
January 22, 2018
Sally Elatta
January 22, 2018

Thione Niang

International Motivational Speaker, Social Entrepreneur, and Co-Founder, Akon Lighting Africa

Social entrepreneur, political strategist, youth advocate, and author Thione Niang was born into a modest family of 28 children in Senegal. The visionary leader immigrated to the USA in 2000 with only 20 dollars and worked his way through the hardships while getting involved in his new community. His efforts led him to participate as a community organizer in the historic 2008 presidential elections supporting Democratic candidate Barack Obama and to become national co-chair of Gen44 for the 2012 re-election campaign.

Thione Niang now leads three structurally different, but substantially similar international organizations: GIVE1PROJECT, TNG (ThioneNiang Group), and Akon Lighting Africa and Solektra Interational.


Created in 2009 by Thione Niang, this institution promotes global leadership and entrepreneurship through its incubation centers and women’s empowerment and global leadership programs. GIVE1 is now present in 32 countries around the world, including the United States, France, Japan, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Bénin, and Senegal.


Since 2006, the TNG is a government relations, strategy, and public relations firm working to facilitate communication and relations between global organizations and governments. Since its creation, Thione has surrounded himself with experts in public relations, sociology, political science, journalism, and graphic design from around the whole world.

AKON LIGHTNING AFRICA and Solektra International

As an entrepreneur in the energy field, he co-founded Akon Lighting Africa and Solektra International along with the renowned artist Akon and Malian businessman Samba Bathily in 2014. The mission is to provide electricity to 600 million African households and communities through sustainable solar energy. Today, 16 countries benefit from the initiative and more than 5,000 jobs have been created across the continent, enabling a solar academy to open in Mali for the training of young Africans in the field.

By 2015, Thione Niang was appointed by President Obama as ambassador to the U.S. Ministry of Energy. Thione advocates for inclusion of minorities in all aspects of the energy sector, with a special focus on energy economic development, STEM education, and climate change. He shares his inspiring story with the world in his recent book, Memoirs of an Eternal Optimist.
2019 Summit