FabAfriq Magazine

Akon Plans To Build Akon City in Senegal With $6 Billion

America R&B singer Akon is continuing with plans to create a futuristic pan-African city, that construction will begin next year on the project of US $6 Billion despite the uncertain future of global tourism.

Akon, who first announced his idea for the woman city in 2018, has described it as a “real-life Wakanda”, comparing it to the technologically advanced fictional African place illustrated in the blockbuster film Black Panther.

Akon said he hoped his project would provide much needed jobs for Senegalese people and serve as a “home black home” for black Americans and other facing racial injustices.

He also said that the system back home treats them unfairly in so many ways that people can never imagine. And they only go through it because they feel that there is no other way and if people from America or Europe or elsewhere in the diaspora want to visit Africa, Senegal can be their first stop.

Akon who was born in the United States to Senegalese parents spent much of his childhood in the West African country where in only 44 percent of rural households had electricity even in 2018.

Senegal authorities have embraced him as a native son introducing him by his given name Aliuane Thiam and praising him for investing in Africa at a time of such global financial uncertainty.

On Monday, he travelled with government officials to the grassy fields in Mbodienne, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) outside the capital, where construction has yet to begin.

Tourism Minister Alioune Sarr said the launch of Akon comes at the time when private Investment is scarce and desperately needed. International flights have resumed in Senegal, but now are only for citizens and residents with a few exceptions.

Akon said the project already had secured about one-third of $6 billion needed, but declined to publicly identify his investors, citing non-disclosure agreements.

A hotel within the city plans to feature rooms decorated for each of the 54 nations of Africa. However, the project was designed by a Dubai-based architect because Akon said he could not find a suitable one in Africa fast enough. It is also unclear what percentage of the building materials and construction teams will be sourced literally.

Akon city is promising a bit of everything: a seaside resort, a tech hub, recording studios and even a zone dubbed “Senewood” that developers hope will help develop the film industry of Senegal.

Akon rose to R&B fame after his 2004 debut album but has increasingly focused on development projects in Africa. In 2014, he started Akon Lighting Africa, which backs solar energy projects in rural areas.

In Mbodienne, hopes are high that this project will change lives even if two-third of funding needed has yet to be secured.


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