Web Summit 2019 - Day Two

Source: Eóin Noonan / Getty

Borrowing from the Field of Dreams business playbook, Akon has received approval from the Ugandan government to build his own second city in Africa, which is planned to be completed by 2036. The Senegalese-bred rapper is still finishing his first “Akon City” back in Senegal, but he is confident this new one-square-mile plot of land will be something spectacular. “I know if I put it there, they’re going to find a way to afford it because it’s going to motivate them,” Revolt TV reports he said. “Ultimately, when you create an opportunity, people grow with that opportunity, people learn with that opportunity, people are motivated with that opportunity.”

Although the estimated costs of construction and development were not revealed for this newest project, his first Akon City was initially budgeted for $2 billion, a number that has since exploded by 300% for somewhere that is still incomplete and at least a decade away before its inaugural ribbon is cut.

When Akon began talking about his eagerness to build cities in Africa, he told the Associated Press last year, “[Governments and societies outside of Africa treat the progeny of the African diaspora] unfairly in so many different ways that you can never imagine. And they only go through it because they feel that there is no other way. So 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.”

His new city will most likely be powered by Akon Lighting Africa, a venture started in 2014 with the alleged objective of providing electricity throughout the whole African continent, and the rapper’s own crypto will be the medium of exchange, which will be called Akoin.

There are some worthwhile question marks about the enterprise, though. Akon Lighting Africa was a for-profit project subsidized by the Chinese government. But since ALA’s last grand announcement in 2016, the organization’s IG has had no new activity in five years, and the company URL is a dead link. Furthermore, according to Business Insider, Akon City’s biggest financial backer is Julius Mwele, a former Kenyan Air Force soldier with a history of not paying debts and who left his own homeland over two decades ago due to “unclear circumstances.”

But in the meantime, we can enjoy Akon promoting Senegalese painter Bou Bou and his pending NFT drop through Akoin.