Akon City, is the idea of a pan-African crypto-powered smart city in Senegal from rapper Akon, according to the locals the project has raised some concerns due to the fact that it has not gone beyond the memorial stone that was laid.
While Akon promoted the city in 2018 as a futuristic city inspired by the Marvel film Black Panther that would emerge as a “beacon of innovation and human development” and bolster the West African and Senegalese economies, there are few signs of its development beyond a ceremonial stone laid in a field near Mbodiene a year ago.
The project has not moved beyond the erection of the stone, according to Agence France-Press, and a little banner promoting Akon City has now fallen from its place on top of the block.
By 2024, Akon said, the city would have a police station, garbage center, solar power plant, shopping mall, hospital, and school, with the full project expected to be completed by 2030.
Senegalese residents appear to be getting increasingly dubious about Akon City, the popular artist and producer’s proposal for a $6 billion Pan-African “smart city” with a crypto-powered economy built near the Senegalese village of Mbodiene.
Locals in Mbiodene who had great hopes for a boost in employment and economic activity now have no idea why Akon City’s development has stagnated, according to the research. Jules Thiamane, a 35-year-old local, said:
“They laid the foundation stone with a lot of speeches and promises. Compared to everything that was announced, I don’t think we have seen much yet.”
However, not everyone has given up on Akon City, with David Seck Sene, president of the Mbodiene village youth group, saying, “I still have optimism.” I can’t see a project like this coming to an end tomorrow.”
The president of a local women’s organization, Philomene Bamimba, stressed the economic benefits that the city’s building could bring to Mbodiene. “This is a significant deal for us,” she explained.
According to Paul Martin of the US-based engineering firm KE International, which won the contract to build Akon City, the project has received more than $4 billion in investment.
Julius Mwale, a Kenyan entrepreneur, is the project’s principal investor, according to Martin. Construction is expected to begin in October, following the completion of another Mwale-funded community in Kenya.
The first 12 months of work on Akon City were spent on “planning, approvals, procurement, and subcontractor recruiting,” according to Martin.
According to the World Bank, more than a third of Senegal’s 16 million people are currently living in poverty.