Akon may not be lonely for much longer. The famed R&B singer is going ahead with plans to build a new $6 billion smart city in Senegal where nationals can live and work—and where members of the African Diaspora will always be welcome.

The 47-year-old Senegalese American singer, known for hits like “Smack That” and “Lonely,” has confirmed that construction on “Akon City” will begin next year despite the pandemic’s devastating effects on global tourism. The 2,000-acre metropolis, which was first touted by the singer back in 2018, will feature a sprawling luxury resort, high-rise condos, recording studios, a stadium, and even its own cryptocurrency, “Akoin.”

The oasis is also expected to run on clean energy—no doubt supplied by the singer’s Akon Lighting Africa, which backs solar energy projects in rural areas—plus features an artificial intelligence data center.

Akon city construction progress

Naturally, the new city will have a futuristic aesthetic to match the cutting-edge tech. Penned by Bakri & Associates Development Consultants, the city is characterized by gleaming structures that have an almost Surrealist feel. In fact, the renderings look like the backdrop of a Ridley Scott film.

Akon City designed by Bakri & Associates Development Consultants.


Bakri & Associates Development Consultants/Akon City

Save for the recurring mononym, Akon City appears to be more than just a monument to the singer’s ego. The hub will be located in Akon’s home country of Senegal, where he spent much of his childhood before moving to New Jersey when he was 11. The singer told the Associated Press the project is geared toward stimulating the local economy and creating much-needed jobs for the Senegalese.

Mbodiene.

In a September 6 report published by Agence France-Press, reliable sources confirmed that the project has not started, with a small placard promoting Akon City scattering on top of the block.

Initially, Akon had predicted that the Akon City would feature a police station, waste center, solar power plant, shopping center, hospital, and school by 2024, anticipating the project to be completed entirely by 2030.

Akon City is a $6 billion pan-African vision boasting a crypto-powered economy located near the Senegalese village of Mbodiene, with many residents anticipating to benefit from the project.

But, according to the report, many locals have plunged into a state of despair, with a 35-year-old local, Julius Thiamane, stating:

“They laid the foundation stone with a lot of speeches and promises.

Akon city construction progressbar


Akon smart city establishment to the residents of Mbodiene, stating:

“This is big for us.”

On the other hand, the Director of Akon City, Paul Martin, a project company that won the contract for the construction of the Akon smart City, asserted that the project has already secured $4 billion in funding.

In the same context, Martin revealed that Julius Mwale, a Kenyan entrepreneur, is the current project lead, predicting that the construction may start in October after the completion of another Mwale-funded city that is almost complete in Kenya, adding:

“The first 12 months incorporated planning, approvals, procurement and recruitment of sub-contractor.”

Data acquired from the World Bank confirmed that more than one-third of Senegal’s 16 million populations currently live below the poverty line.

Akon city construction progresses

The singer, who has an estimated net worth of $80 million, told AP the project has already secured about one-third of the $6 billion needed. He declined to publicly identify his investors, citing non-disclosure agreements. However, Business Insider recently reported that Julius Mwale, the Kenyan technology entrepreneur behind a similar project, Mwale Medical and Technology City, has also invested $4 billion.

If true, that contribution would be noteworthy for more than one reason: According to Insider, Mwale has a history of being sued over allegations that he failed to repay debts. And, from a purely mathematical perspective, it would appear to get Akon to his $6 billion goal—or very close to it.

Perhaps that’s why he is so confident the project will move forward. The singer says that construction on the new city will begin in early 2021.

Akon city construction progressif

Musician Akon is creating a futuristic city and his own cryptocurrency in Senegal”. CNN.com.

  • ^ ab“Akon moves ahead with crypto city in Senegal despite skepticism”. The Architect’s Newspaper. December 31, 2020 – via archpaper.com.
  • ^Akinwotu, Emmanuel (September 1, 2020).

    Music mogul Akon going ahead with futuristic ‘Akon City’ in Senegal”. theguardian.com.

  • ^“Akon’s Tech Utopia”. November 15, 2018.
  • ^Salaudeen, Aisha. “R&B singer Akon is building a ‘real-life Wakanda’ worth $6 billion in Senegal”. CNN.com.
  • ^Srikanth, Anagha (December 28, 2020).
    “Singer Akon is raising $6B to build a real-life Wakanda straight out of the movie ‘Black Panther'”. TheHill.com.
  • ^“Senegal’s Tourism Gets Huge Boost from ‘Akon City’ Project”. hotelandtourismonline.com.
  • Martin said by email, referring to Akon City.

    But tourism worker Thiamane said that he’d grown disillusioned, pointing to earlier failed development projects in Mbodiene.

    “What is shared in the village at the moment is the beginning of disappointment,” he said.

    Akon’s team, and the Senegalese state tourism agency SAPCO, which is managing the project on the government’s behalf, did not respond to repeated solicitations by AFP for comment.

    – ‘Still have hope’ –

    Most Mbodiene residents cited the potential benefits of Akon City and said it could bring jobs.

    “This is big for us,” said Philomene Bamimba, who heads a local women’s association.

    David Seck Sene, president of the village youth association, admitted there was confusion around the delays but said: “I still have hope.

    A growing scepticism has been witnessed in the locals of Senegal about the Akon City, which is a $6B Pan-African vision for revolutionizing the economy. The report further stated that the locals of Mbiodene, who were high in hopes of the expected upsurge in the economic activity, have limited information about the project’s freeze. Jules Thiamine (a local of 35) stated that the foundation stone was laid with many promises and speeches; nonetheless, nothing from the announced things has been converted into action yet.

    However, everyone is not disappointed by the plan as David Seck Sene (the president of the youth association of the village Mbodiene) mentioned that they are much hopeful about the project.
    He added that he does not think the project to be halted as such projects do not stop.

    Akon City (an ambitious concept for a crypto-driven Pan-African smart city from Akon (a well-known rapper) in Senegal has not made any progress in the previous 12 months after its founding stone was laid. Initially, the idea was spruiked as an innovative region enthused by Black Panther (a movie from Marvel). It was supposed that the city would rise as an inspiration for human development and modernization to boost the Senegalese and African economies in 2018.
    There are only a few signs of the respective city along with the ceremonial stone in a meadow near Mbodiene.

    Agence-France-Press reported that no advancements had been made in the city except the erection of a stone having a small promotion poster which has since dropped from its pole on the block’s upper side.

    While Akon, undeniably, had big dreams and plans for the city —he made several references to the popular fictional African city in the Black Panther movie, Wakanda— the locals who had believed that the new city would usher in a new wave of development and progress are beginning to view it as another failed promise.

    Locals losing faith in the project

    A local, Jules Thiamane, who has experience in the tourism sector shared the sentiment of other locals about the project.

    According to him, the project was launched with many “speeches and promises” however, he continued that, “compared to everything that was announced, I don’t think we have seen much yet.” This view was also shared by another local, Ahmeth Deme, a student, who felt that the project might have been canceled.

    The gloomy picture painted above is not shared by all the locals.

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