Construction begins on the $6 billion project next year.
Akon announced on Monday that his Senegalese self-titled city, Akon City, will begin construction next year, according to the Associated Press. Akon has been discussing the idea of this city for years, describing it as a "real-life Wakanda." The singer plans to make it the most technologically-advanced city in Africa and a sanctuary of sorts for black people, who face systemic racial injustice and discrimination seemingly anywhere else they go.
“The system back home treats them unfairly in so many different ways that you can never imagine. And they only go through it because they feel that there is no other way,” he said.
Having been born in the U.S., the hit singer with chart-topping singles to his name such as “Smack That” and “Locked Up” visited Senegal frequently during his childhood, making him familiar with the rough conditions that the locals face.. Scarce electricity, seasonal flooding, and poverty are some of the problems burdening the nearly 50% of Senegalese citizens who live in rural areas.
Tired of merely expressing dissatisfaction about the stagnantly poor conditions of his home country, the R&B singer started Akon Lighting Africa in 2014, an organization which provides electricity by solar energy in rural areas. Since its launch six years ago, the company now has operations in 14 countries, including Niger, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
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Although Akon’s ambitious plan has yet to secure the $6 billion in funding needed for it to be met, the singer travelled with government officials to the grassy fields in Mbodiene on Monday and has reportedly already garnered a third of the funding needed to make Akon City a reality, though he has declined to share who his investors are.
Some noteworthy features of the city include a hotel with rooms decorated to represent the 54 countries of Africa, its own form of cryptocurrency, called Akoin, and surrealist architecture throughout. The people of Mbodiene are grateful to see Akon delivering on his promises to uplift his people and are ecstatic for what is to come.