AKON CITY: Site Of The Star’s Wakanda-Inspired Dream Crypto City Littered With Tumbleweed

By Edem Latsu Nukafu

In Mbodiène, a coastal village in Senegal, a peculiar white concrete building stands alone as herons soar gracefully through the skies above.
This structure, envisioned as the future “welcome centre,” holds the key to Akon City, an astounding metropolis inspired by the imaginary African nation of Wakanda as seen in the renowned Black Panther movies.
With a staggering budget of $6 billion (£4.7 billion), this awe-inspiring project aims to bring forth a vision of a futuristic urban landscape.

The plans were first revealed by Akon, an American-Senegalese R&B vocalist who has stayed in Senegal for half decade, and the first phase of construction was supposed to be completed by the end of 2023, but the project has been plagued by delays and controversy.

Since infancy, Jean Charles Édouard Sarr, a 55-year-old maintenance engineer and self-confessed cryptocurrency aficionado, has visited his ancestral village of Mbodiène, where his mother is interred.

After graduating, Sarr moved to France to start his career and stayed there for five years. He was different from others in his decision to return to Senegal, where he moved near Dakar. When Akon City was announced to the world in 2018, Sarr became enchanted by the plans, which promised economic resurrection and self-sufficiency for Mbodiène’s residents.

“If the youth have the opportunity to have a good university, they will have more chances to find a job here,” he stated. “As an African, if you have a nice life, the beach, a good job and healthcare, what else do you need? Why would you go looking for it in Europe?”

According to Mbodiène’s 70-year-old village chief, Michel Diome, who has met Akon several occasions, the project could be a boon for the local economy, which has been damaged by a decline in the fishing industry.

“Every village chief would desire a project like this, because we are expecting jobs for men, women and the youth in Mbodiène,” says Diome, who gave Akon his blessing for the project.

Akon has previously mentioned that his eponymous city would not only offer employment, but also serve as a sanctuary for African-Americans who are seeking to reconnect with their African roots.

The African diaspora has already found the country to be a pilgrimage destination. They take the short ferry ride from Dakar to the island of Gorée, the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast from the 15th to the 19th century.

“I wanted to build a city or a project like this that will give them the motivation to know that there is a home back home,” the ‘Ghetto’ crooner uttered at a presser in 2020.


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