Bono anoints Israel’s solar power ‘king’

The U2 star congratulates Yosef Abramowitz on his renewable energy project in post-genocide Rwanda

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

A pleased Yosef Abramowitz greets Bono at a Rwandan solar field this week (Courtesy Yosef Abramowitz)
A pleased Yosef Abramowitz greets Bono at a Rwandan solar field this week (Courtesy Yosef Abramowitz)

The only thing missing from solar power star Yosef Abramowitz’s celebrity meeting with U2 frontman Bono at an eastern Rwandan solar field was his family.

“Being Knighted by Bono in our solar field, using the wrist band, with the declaration: ‘You are an incredible dude,'” wrote Abramowitz on Facebook. “I can’t believe my kids weren’t there to witness. Here’s the video evidence, maybe they will respect that.”

Bono was in Rwanda visiting the solar field with a group of US representatives to explore ways in which the US and Africa can expand economic development opportunities.

The rock star has long been involved in African development through his ONE campaign, which fights extreme poverty and disease and also backs the Electrify Africa Act, an act to help bring electricity to 50 million Africans.

The $23.7 million field, a solar field developed by Abramowitz’s Gigawatt Global, supplies about 6 percent of Rwanda’s power and is set on the land of an Israeli-inspired youth village, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, the first of its kind in East Africa.

The youth village is home to students orphaned by the Rwandan genocide and was established by South African-American attorney and philanthropist Anne Heyman, a Young Judea friend of Abramowitz who died in a tragic horse riding accident in January 2014. The fees paid by Gigawatt Global to lease the solar field’s land help defray the village’s expenses.

The intent is for the Rwandan solar field to add more than 30 gigawatts of clean energy to Africa, enough to power 60 million homes and businesses, explained Abramowitz.

Bono posted his own picture of the solar panels under the Rwandan blue sky: “Looking to the future… Bono”.

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