These photos of Akon City in Senegal will blow your mind up. American R&B artist, Akon is pushing forward his plans to build a futuristic pan-African city, announcing Monday that construction on the $6 billion project will begin next year amid the uncertain future of global tourism.
Akon, who first announced his concept for the futuristic city back in 2018, described it as a “real-life Wakanda,” as opposed to the technologically advanced African fictional place depicted in the “Black Panther” blockbuster film.
Akon said on Monday he hoped his project would provide much-needed employment for Senegalese and also act as a “way back home” for Black Americans and others who face racial injustices.
“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.
“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.”
Akon, who was born to Senegalese parents in the United States, spent most of his childhood in the West African country where, even in 2018, only 44 per cent of rural households had electricity.
He was welcomed by the Senegalese authorities as a native son, calling him by his name Aliaune Thiam and praising him for investing in Africa at a time of such global financial instability.
Location of Akon city in Senegal
On Monday he travelled to the grassy fields in Mbodienne with government officials some 100 kilometres (62 miles) outside the capital where construction has yet to begin.
As per google map, Akon’s crypto city lies in the coordinate of latitude 14.711957, longitude -17.4694305,265 near Cité Keur Gorgui, Dakar, Senegal.
Minister of Tourism Alioune Sarr said the launch of Akon comes at a time when private investment is scarce and in desperate need. International flights have resumed in Senegal, but with a few exceptions, they are usually only for people and residents.
“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,” he said.
Cost of building Akon City
Akon said the project has already raised around one-third of the $6 billion required, but has refused to name its investors publicly, citing non-disclosure agreements. After construction starts in early 2021, it may take more than three years for the first phase of the project alone, he said.
Akon City’s almost unreal, waterlike designs were influenced by the shapes of long made traditional sculptures in villages in Africa, he said. But Akon City’s gleaming buildings are made of metal and glass, not wood.
A city-side hotel plans to feature rooms decorated for each of Africa’s 54 nations. However, a Dubai-based architect designed the project because Akon said he couldn’t find a suitable one fast enough in Africa. Even it is unknown what proportion of construction materials and building teams will be supplied locally.
What would Akon City offer to its visitors?
Akon City offers a bit of everything: a seaside resort, a tech centre, recording studios and even a zone called “Senewood,” which developers hope will help grow the film industry in Senegal.
The singer has accepted the similarities made in “Black Panther” between Akon City and the utopian community, naming it “honour.”
Plans eventually call for Akon City already called AKoin to have its own hospital, police station and even its own crypto-currency. The singer also said he is considering franchising the idea to other countries on the continent, without providing details.
After his debut album in 2004, Akon rose to R&B fame but in recent years has concentrated increasingly on development projects in Africa.
He launched Akon Lighting Africa in 2014, which supports rural solar energy projects. The motive was profoundly personal to him: he found his grandmother in Senegal still using candles to light up her home.
“It just doesn’t make sense how 20 years can pass by and the condition doesn’t change,” he said back in 2016.
Hopes are strong at Mbodienne that this project would improve lives even though two-thirds of the funding required is still to be obtained.
“We have a lot of hope. Many promised us projects, but we saw nothing,” said village chief Michel Diom.