It’s official, “Akon City” is still on its way!
R&B sensation, Akon announced that construction for his futuristic pan-African city will begin next year, AP News reports. The $6 billion project will still proceed despite global tourism’s uncertain future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by the hit film, “Black Panther,” Akon first set his sights on creating a utopian city back in 2018 and has described it as a “real-life Wakanda,” much like the technologically advanced fictional African place portrayed in the film.
Akon hopes his city will serve as a “home back home” for Black Americans and others facing racial injustices. His aim is also to provide much-needed jobs for Senegalese.
“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 there is no other way,” Akon said, according to AP News.
Born in the United States — to Senegalese parents — the “Lonely” singer spent the majority of his childhood in the West African country where only 44 percent of rural households had electricity in the year of 2018, reports AP News.
The singer has been embraced as a native son by Senegalese authorities who introduced him by his given name Aliuane Thiam and praised him for his investment in Africa during a time of such global financial uncertainty.
“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 in Africa,” said tourism Minister Alioune Sarr, according to AP News.
Sarr believes the launch comes at a vital time where private investment is few and far between but greatly needed.
The project has already secured one-third of the $6 billion needed, however, Akon declined to publicly identify his investors due to non-disclosure agreements. He reveals that once construction begins in early 2021, it can take more than three years for the first phase of the project to be completed.
Inspired by the shapes of traditional sculptures long made in Africa’s villages, Akon shares that the almost surrealist, water-like designs will be made of metal and glass, not wood.
“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 said.
AP News reports the futuristic city is said to have a tech hub, in addition to recording studios, a seaside resort, and a zone called “Senewood” to aid in the development of Senegal’s film industry.
I’m not sure about you, but my bags will be packed and ready when “Akon City” officially opens.