When it comes to buying power, most hip-hop and R&B stars are known for at the very least expensive cars and at the most owning stake in a sports team, company, or even newspaper. “Smack That” singer Akon wants way more than that. On Monday, he announced on social media that he finalized an agreement to create “Akon City” in Senegal, according to Business Insider. The renewable energy city is expected to be a technology hub powered by the vocalist’s cryptocurrency, Akoin.
“Real-life Wakanda” — The 2,000-acres is said to be a gift from Senegalese President Macky Sall as part of an investment pledge for the nation’s ecotourism. Akon City is set to be more of a complex in the seaside village of Mbodiene. About 75 miles south of the capital, Dakar, Akon City will have its own airport and exclusively use Akoin. Last month, the singer-songwriter told Nick Cannon that the city would take 10 years to build, with phase two starting in 2025.
Africa by Africans — Akon was born in Senegal before moving to the U.S. at 7 years old, and in recent years, he’s been intent on giving back not just to his home country but the continent as a whole. His Lighting Africa initiative has supplied millions of Africans with solar-powered electricity. Though both the city and the cryptocurrency have a vanity project vibe, the intent behind them seems benevolent and thought out.
In a 2013 CNN interview, Akon said: “If I could have my way, Africa would be the United States of Africa." In his ideal world, Akoin would be used across all 54 African countries, not unlike the Euro in Europe. Akon has always maintained that he’s the idea guy for the cryptocurrency and welcomes “the geeks” to figure out how to make it a reality.
Africa is currently a hotbed of technological opportunity attracting Chinese, European, and American interests in a new wave of resource extraction. Whatever your feelings might be about Akon’s projects, he at least has a track record for standing by and for Africans. If he wants to put his name all over them, who are we to stop him?