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Akon Is Now the Proud Owner of a City in Senegal

Akon City will be a sustainable tourist destination that runs on Akoin, the singer's own cryptocurrency.

by Bettina Makalintal
Jan 14 2020, 5:16pm

Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Perhaps the one thing we can all agree on in the current tumult of our times is that nothing in celebrity news really makes sense anymore. In a world in which a reality TV star has been President of the United States for just shy of three years, the two weeks of 2020 have already yielded the following: Elon Musk and Grimes are maybe (??) having a baby; Leonardo DiCaprio rescued a man from drowning; Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, and Guy Fieri are all buddies who hang out; and Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop stocked a $75 candle that smells like her vagina, which is now completely sold out.

So on that note: Akon now officially owns a city in Senegal called Akon City, because why not?

The singer, whose real name is Aliaune Thiam, first discussed his plans towards his futuristic city in June 2018 after President Macky Sall gave him 2,000 acres of land near the country's new airport, per CNN. It wasn't until yesterday that the Senegal-raised singer made it official, posting a picture of himself holding the finalized agreement on his Instagram. In a deal with the country's state-owned tourism company, per the Jakarta Post, Akon City is part of the singer's goals to create a sustainable tourism village.

As Complex pointed out, Akon explained his plans for Akon City in an interview with Nick Cannon in late 2019, sharing that construction had already started and that the city will be built over 10 years, with stage two of development kicking off in 2025. In that interview, he called out wealthy people who aren't putting their money to use in bigger ways. "If you can have a billion dollars sitting in the bank, while you have all these people suffering and struggling, it’s crazy to me. It’s like a waste of a billion dollars," Akon said.

It's not the first time Akon has delved into global philanthropy, however. He helms the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, which seeks to bring off-grid energy to people living in Africa without access to electricity, and the Akon Lighting America initiative, which will develop renewable energy projects in the United States and reinvest the profits back to Africa. In 2018, he launched Akoin, a cryptocurrency that he hopes will help develop economies in Africa—especially necessary in countries where inflation and government corruption have disrupted the local currency, he told VICE at the time—and on which Akon City will run.

Akon City might sound like the weirdest celebrity news blip, but maybe it all makes sense, after all. Now, if only we could say the same for Kanye West's Star Wars-inspired domes.

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