The coronavirus pandemic may have severely impacted the global economy with major setbacks, but that isn’t deterring musician and business mogul, Akon, from going ahead with his plans of constructing a futuristic pan-African city in his home country of Senegal.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, the Locked Up singer, who spent most of his childhood in the West African nation, revealed the construction of the $6 billion project will commence early next year.
The 47-year-old musician, born Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam, shared his plans of building the city in 2018, describing it as the as a “a real-life Wakanda” in reference to the Afro-futuristic city in Marvel’s movie, Black Panther. He also said the city will use a cryptocurrency called AKoin.
Providing more details about the project, the musician told the Associated Press he hoped it would create jobs for locals in the West African nation as well as serve a “home back home” for Black Americans and other people in the diaspora who are being racially discriminated against.
“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,” said Akon.
“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 singer, who traveled to the site of the project in Mbodienne with government officials on Monday, said he has been able to acquire one-third of the $6 billion needed for the project. He, however, did not reveal the investors, saying non-disclosure agreements are in effect.
Senegal’s Tourism Minister, Alioune Sarr, also said the project couldn’t have come at a better time.
“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 told the Associated Press.