And Finally Artist News

Akon announces plans for second Akon City

By | Published on Thursday 8 April 2021


How many cities have you built? None? Well, fair enough. Akon hasn’t built any either. And that’s the benchmark, isn’t it? Problem is, he’s gearing up to start building his first and has announced plans for a second. So now you look pretty silly. OK, he’s not going to literally build these two cities himself, brick by brick, but he’s spearheading the two city-building projects. So you still look a bit silly.

With construction work scheduled to begin on Akon City in Senegal later this year, it was announced this week that he has also been given approval to build on one square mile of land in Uganda as well. Both cities aim to be futuristic – likened to Wakanda in ‘Black Panther’ – with luxury apartments, connected tech, music and film hubs, all of which will be run on the musician’s cryptocurrency Akoin.

“We had discussions and we had agreed with Mr Akon and his entourage that we will identity a place suitable in Uganda that has not less than one square mile which will be made available to him and his team, so he can harness resources … attract investors, manage the project and have a satellite city developed on a theme that we shall have agreed upon”, said the country’s Minister Of State For Urban Development, Isaac Musumba, at a press conference. “We would like to emulate what has been done elsewhere for us to have an Akon City here”.

Akon added that his ambitions encompass Africa as a whole, saying: “The idea is to utilise all the resources and try to build the continent. To build the continent is our ultimate goal. It’s going to take our generation to do what they need to build the future of Africa and take it to places it needs to go. We need to unite as people to make this thing happen. We need to develop Africa, whatever it takes”.

Tourism would be a particular focus for the Ugandan Akon City, he went on: “I believe Uganda has the biggest potential in tourism all over Africa. I have been everywhere in Africa, and I have not seen potential like this. It [would] be a shame to have all this beautiful access to this country that no one knows about except Ugandans. The worst thing is to have millions of people come to visit Uganda and then you don’t have basic roads to get them there. We want to make sure that we put down proper infrastructure, not only for the visitors but also for the locals”.

Asked how he thought ordinary Ugandans would be able to afford to live in his hi-tech, hi-spec city, he said: “I don’t look at it as the standpoint of something that people can’t afford. I know if I put it there, they’re going to find a way to afford it, because it’s going to motivate them. But ultimately when you create an opportunity, people grow with that opportunity, people learn with that opportunity, people are motivated with that opportunity”.

Construction on Akon City Uganda is not expected to be completed until 2036, so there’s time for that prediction to come true. Meanwhile, work on Akon City Senegal is slated to begin later this year, although not all of the $6 billion required to complete the project has yet been raised. If all goes to plan though, it’s hoped that work will be finished in three years. Among the ambitious plans for the project, Akon is building ‘Senewood’, a ready-made hub for the Senegalese film industry.

Akon has not said how much it will cost to build Akon City Uganda, and at the press conference this week dodged questions about funding several times. Uganda’s opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change, has said that it’s “a public secret” that the city will never be built, and accused the government of “promising sweetheart deals to people like Akon”.