The R & B singer Akon, who has given us classics like Smack That and Lonely, is one step closer to creating a futuristic city in Senegal, touted as a 'real-life Wakanda.'
Construction on the project in Senegal a country where only 44 per cent of rural homes in 2018 had electricity, is due to start next year. Akon announced his plans for the futuristic city back in 2018, describing it as a 'real-life Wakanda' the city from Marvel's Black Panther, which is the most technologically advanced in that particular world.
According to ABC News, Akon has already secured a third of the $6 billion he needs to begin building the city but has refused to publicly reveal who is investing in the ambitious project which could take more than three years to complete and is appropriately named 'Akon City.'
Akon announced his plans on Monday with a statement saying that the city will be a "home back home" for Black Americans and anyone else facing racial discrimination and injustice.
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. So if you're coming from America or Europe or elsewhere in the diaspora and you feel that you want to visit Africa, we want Senegal to be your first stop.
The 47-year-old was born in the United States to Senegalese parents but spent much of his childhood in the West African nation hence his decision to build his city in Senegal. He has since been embraced as a native son of the country where he has been praised for investing in the African economy in such an uncertain time.
Current plans are to build Akon City and its buildings, which are inspired by traditional African sculptures, in Mbodienne which is 62 miles outside of the capital Dakar. The city is set to include features such as a seaside resort, a tech hub, recording studios, police station, hospital, a movie stuido and a hotel that has rooms decorated to represent each of Africa's 54 nations. ABC add that he also has plans to introduce his own cryptocurrency named AKoin and is also considering selling the concept to other African countries.
Alioune Sarr, Senegal's tourism minister thanked Akon for investing in the nation during the pandemic. He is quoted as saying:
COVID-19 has sown doubt everywhere. This means that those who had doubts about the attractiveness of Senegal, and Africa in general must convince themselves that there are men and women who believe in Africa.
However, despite obtaining some funding there is still a long way to go but Mbodienne village chief Michel Diom is optimistic:
We have a lot of hope. Many promised us projects, but we saw nothing.