Akon: My Plan To Build Africa’s First Cryptocity

I’ve never disagreed with people when they say it’s a real-life Wakanda because in a way it really is, it is a version of Wakanda in so many words
David M. Benett via Getty Images

The idea to build a cryptocity in Africa came as a way to show young, African entrepreneurs that their future is set up for them here.

Seventy-five per cent of Africa’s population is under 35. These are young entrepreneurial people. There’s just not enough opportunity because the infrastructure hasn’t been fully built out so they are forced to create their own jobs by selling fruits and vegetables on the side of the road.

Africans are entrepreneurs by nature. Imagine the possibilities when you have full infrastructure and opportunity, and unlimited resources for entrepreneurs.

That’s something anyone would want to be a part of because it creates a collective way of expanding into areas that don’t have these resources and opportunities.

Our plan is to create a fully digitised city of the future, run with all the latest technologies - some that already exist, some that are in development. We want to incorporate technology within the city itself, and make it renewable.

We’re also negotiating turning the city into a free-zone - a financial safe haven for Africa’s millionaires.

One of the biggest issues in Africa is that the bank systems aren’t trusted. A lot of people will make money in Africa and then park it outside, whether it’s London or Switzerland or Cayman or Mauritius.

We want to find the solution to keep money in the city by building infrastructure that supports that, that can also be a model for the rest of Africa.

We’re in the current stages of raising the money to start building but we broke ground already in March.

The first city we’re planning to build is in Senegal, West Africa, and then we’re going to branch off into other countries in Africa as well. We’re going to go to places like Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and we’ll communicate with cities in neighbour countries to create one long chain of communication.

The site doesn’t exist yet, there’s google points of the land but right now it’s a little too detailed to put out there. But the land is there, we have security and we’ll now raise the money to build on it.

Investment is coming from everywhere, but the majority of the money is going to be coming from within the continent itself, and the remainder will come from hedge funds from outside that want to invest in Africa.

This process has been going since 2010 so before the idea of Wakanda became very well known but it’s the closest thing that you can relate to it that people can understand.

That’s why I’ve never doubted or disagreed with people when they say it’s a real-life Wakanda because in a way it really is, it is a version of Wakanda in so many words.

It will be a full-out cryptocity run with crypto finances and we’re going to franchise it all throughout Africa as well. So it’s definitely a technical development and we’ll need engineers and scientists for the infrastructure. Of course, you have to have labourers for construction, you have to have staff. For every office, there will be tenants and clerical positions, every position will be needed, all the way down to valet parking, so it will create a whole way of life and more opportunities for everyone.

Using cryptocurrency is what Africa needs, period. We don’t own our own currency in Africa, every currency is owned by the French or the British. There’s not one African currency so there’s no stability or unity or trust in the currencies themselves, they are constantly going up and down and fluctuating so there has to be something that can be trusted for the younger generation to use that’s also going to provide opportunity and transparency.

The biggest problem in Africa that creates corruption is a lack of transparency. So when you have transparency, you have a security system where everyone can see what transactions are going on, where they are coming from, the amount, where they are going to, and the purpose of it. You can’t cheat cryptocurrency - there aren’t any flaws when it comes to security.

I think that’s going to be the beginning of putting Africa on the map when you get rid of that corruption.

Everything is going to create value for Africa. Our goal is to start small, build a city and then grow out into the rest of the country. Once they are all connecting, the impact will be the future.

Once you start to build these cities, new opportunities start to be revealed and naturally, the idea starts to build itself and creates its own economy with it.

When you’re building cities like that, you’re not just building cities, you’re creating a way of life. You’re creating jobs, opportunities, livelihoods and you’re changing the lifestyle of people as they become incorporated in this new economy. The question is way bigger than ‘what is the city going to be?‘, it’s ‘what can the city do for people in general?’.

This is the start of making Africa the next superpower. It would show the potential of what Africa could do, especially with all the latest technologies, imagine if everything was in house - just imagine what that potential looks like.

As told to Lucy Pasha-Robinson


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