You may not have thought about Akon since his song ‘Lonely’ became an earworm a decade ago, but the musician has moved from conquering the charts to building what has been dubbed his very own ‘Wakanda.’
Between setting up his own cryptocurrency AKoin and vowing to bring electricity to 600 million people in Africa, Akon has been quietly building his own ‘futuristic’ city in Senegal named after himself.
He previously revealed that he was working on creating a “100% crypto-based city,” and in November 2019, he shared on Nick Cannon’s radio show Power 106 Los Angeles that building is already under way. The city has been named Akon City.
And most recently, the rapper (and Akon City founder) shared via Twitter that his city in Senegal is official. “Looking forward to hosting you there in the future,” he shared with his followers, alongside news that he had “finalized the agreement.”
While it sounds like something out of a supervillain’s playbook, Akon plans for the city to be “renewable” with a focus on solar energy (a statement claims that his charity project Akon Lighting Africa has provided “scaled solar power solutions throughout 18 countries to date in Africa”).
The same statement also revealed Akon City is intended to be a “100% crypto-based city with AKoin at the center of transactional life”, described as a “real-life Wakanda”.
The singer, who has previously said he would consider running for President of the United States, told Cannon, “It’s Akon City. It’s all renewable, the Akon-tainment solar city. A real physical place, it’s going to have a real airport.”
“It’s a 10-year building block so we’re doing it in stages. We started construction in March and stage two is going to be 2025,” Akon continued.
The city is based in Senegal and after Cannon hinted it would take a billionaire to build an entire city, Akon criticised the term. The singer, who also owns two record labels on top of running his charity Akon Lighting Africa, said, “I always felt like if you have to label yourself a billionaire, I don’t think billionaires even label themselves billionaires. You know, you have no idea. But the crazy part about it though, when I hear stuff like that it makes me sad.”
“When I travel, I see so many things that happen – so many people that need assistance and so many things that just need to be resolved – and if you can have a billion dollars sitting in the bank while you have all these people suffering and struggling? Man, it’s just crazy,” he said.
“It’s like a waste of a billion dollars sitting there, literally,” Akon continued.
Akon told Cannon that he was in the “impact business” and added that he wanted to “build a legacy.” According to a statement about AKoin, the city will be built on “2,000 acres of land gifted to Akon from the President of Senegal” and will be a five minute drive to the airport, plus nearby Dakar.
He also said he hoped that AKoin would take off on an international level, saying that it was the project he was “most excited about personally” rather than his namesake city. He said, “You might just go to vacation and when you transfer your American dollars into their money, you might just be transferring it into AKoins. That’s the goal.”
Page Six reported that at an appearance last June, Akon talked further about cryptocurrency and AKoin. Saying that blockchain and crypto “could be the saviour for Africa in many ways”, he responded to technical questions about the blockchain with, “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”
According to Arabian Business, Akon also appeared at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival and criticised other celebrities for what he perceived as badly thought out moves into cryptocurrency.
He said, “I think a lot of the entertainers went with the wave and also the hype of cryptocurrency, not understanding what it was or what it is and I think a lot of them got caught up into the companies that got eventually folded or were scams.”
“That’s just a lack of education in getting into certain things because as an entertainer you find yourself endorsing a lot of products that you don’t do due diligence on,” he finished.