Akon’s initial announcements about his plans to build a cryptocurrency based city in Senegal was met with criticism in 2018, but in the few years since, he has made significant progress in making this goal a reality. In January of this year, Akon revealed that his agreements with Senegal President Macky Sall were going forward, and last month it was announced that the engineering and consulting firm KE International was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the city. The company previously said it had already received $4 billion from investors for the first two phases of Akon City’s construction.
Phase 1 of construction is expected to be completed in 2023, and will include roads, a hospital, residences, hotels, a police station, a waste facility, a school, and a solar power plant. The entire city is expected to be finished around 2029. The city’s economy will be facilitated by Akon’s cryptocurrency “Akoin,” which runs on the Stellar blockchain. Stellar is a crypto ecosystem which includes its own cryptocurrency XLM, and also allows for the development of other projects, such as decentralized exchanges and additional currencies like Akoin.
Akon believes that cryptocurrency is the solution to the corruption problems that create widespread inequality in Africa because the blockchain provides a record that would make corruption extremely obvious if it were to take place. With an independent cryptocurrency, governments are unable to print money and devalue the currency, and the control of the money is decentralized.
In a recent interview with TMZ, Akon compared the vision that he has for the city with the fictional “Wakanda” from the movie Black Panther.
“This movie literally made an idea of what Africa could really be. It’s just ironic that I was already working on this before the movie came out, but it’s something that helped me a lot when I was trying to explain to explain to people what I was trying to do,” Akon said.
Akon has huge plans for the city, and many of them are already underway. He said that the construction of a $1 billion hospital is already about 85% complete. He also hopes that the city will run almost entirely on clean and renewable energy, and plans to use solar energy as much as possible.
The city’s crypto economic system will also solve many problems specific to the developing world, like instantly calculating conversation rates for currencies, which is often an obstacle because there are so many different regional currencies and methods of trade. In some cases, people even use prepaid cellphone minutes as a currency because it is easier to use and exchange than traditional currencies. Akon says that the Akoin wallet will allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and cellphone minutes instantly without having to go through a major exchange using Atomic Swap technology. The app will also teach users to become more familiar with the technology in general.
Akon also started a project Akon Lighting Africa in 2014 which provides electricity in 15 countries of Africa, and launched his own charity for underprivileged children in Africa called Konfidence Foundation.