Is rapper Akon's crypto-city built on sand?

A futuristic city too virtual? – Dreaming big can be a very noble thing when the vision is followed by fact, or at least an attempt. In the case of Akon City, dreamed by the American RnB singer and producer of Senegalese origin Akon, the fantasy seems to remain in an evanescent state. Indeed, more than a year and a half after the announcement of the agreement of the star with the Senegalese authorities to build this “crypto-city of the future”, nothing has moved.

Akon City: a futuristic oasis that would only be a mirage?

The vision of Alioune Badara Thiam, aka Akon, was pharaonic: to build in Senegal a very futuristic smart city, “soberly” called Akon City, with a colossal budget estimated at several billion dollars.

The latter was to be based on a crypto-currency, also from the fertile mind of the star: the Akoin (AKN) – but no, come on, this is not megalomania.

If the representatives of the Senegalese government had enthusiastically signed this agreement with Akon in January 2020, the observation is bitter, 20 months later.

As reported by Agence France Presse (AFP), since August 31, 2020, when the singer laid the foundation stone of the future Akon City, nothing more has happened (except for the grass that has grown around the small, lonely concrete block).

Is rapper Akon's crypto-city built on sand?Is rapper Akon's crypto-city built on sand?Will the first stone of Akon City also be the last? – Source: AFP

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A mere delay in startup? Hope is the lifeblood

When asked by AFP, a local tourism official says the situation seems to be at a standstill:

“They laid the first stone with a lot of speeches and promises (…) but compared to everything that was announced, I see that we haven’t seen much yet.”

The village of Mbodiene, where the futuristic city is to be built, still looks for the moment like a peaceful little African hamlet, without the slightest trace of the beginning of work, at least of the earthworks, that one would expect given the ambitions displayed.

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Indeed, by 2023, several buildings should already be completed: a hospital, a school, a shopping center, houses, a police station, a waste treatment center, and even a center for the treatment of power. Akon City should be fully completed by 2030, according to initial plans.

The deputy mayor of the town of Mbodiene, told AFP that he did not know the reason for the delay, although he still hopes that “things are moving forward”, given the potential economic benefits and jobs that such a project would generate. A real start of the works is promised for this month of October 2021.

Indeed, things should finally get moving, because last April, while the second stone of Akon City No. 1 has still not been laid, the star singer said he wanted to build an Akon City No. 2, in Uganda this time. Of course, the Akoin crypto would also be the official currency there. Let’s hope that these projects do end up becoming a reality, and that they don’t create false hopes for the local people.

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