Rapper Akon is spending $6 million to make Black Panther’s fictional African city of Wakanda a reality.
It emerged that construction will begin next year on the pricey project based in Diamniadio Lake City in Senegal.
The rapper compared his plans to the technologically advanced fictional African metropolis in Black Panther.
Akon announced his idea for the utopian city back in 2018 but now the Senegalese-American singer, songwriter, record producer said it would really happen.
“When I’m in the United States, I meet a lot of African-Americans who don’t really understand their culture,” he explained.
“So I wanted to build a city or a project to give them the motivation to come and see where they come from.”
He described Akon City as a “real-life Wakanda” and compared it to the technologically advanced fictional African metropolis in Marvel’s Black Panther film.
Akon said he hoped his project would provide much needed jobs for Senegalese and be a “home back home” for black Americans.
“The system back home treats them unfairly in so many different ways that you can never imagine,” said Akon – whose full name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam.
“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.”
Akon was born in USA to Senegalese parents and he spent much of his childhood in the West African country.
Authorities there have embraced him as a native son and introduced him by his given name, Aliuane Thiam.
Akon traveled with government officials to the grassy fields in Mbodienne on Monday, which is around 62 miles outside the capital.
Tourism Minister Alioune Sarr said the launch comes at a time when private investment is scarce and vital.
Construction will start in 2021
International flights resumed in Senegal but only citizens and residents are allowed to travel there right now.
“COVID-19 has sown doubt everywhere,” Sarr said. “This means that those who had doubts about the attractiveness of Senegal, and Africa in general must convince themselves that there are men and women who believe in Africa.”
Akon has secured about one-third of the $6 billion needed.
Construction is set to begin in the early 2021 – but he acknowledged that the first phase could take more than three years.
The surrealist designs of Akon City were inspired by the shapes of traditional sculptures long made in Africa’s villages, he said.
Its gleaming structures will be made of metal and glass, not wood, Akon revealed.
A hotel within it will feature rooms decorated for each of the 54 nations of Africa.
The project was the brainchild of a Dubai-based architect Hussein Bakri because Akon couldn’t find one in Africa quick enough.
It isn’t clear how much of the materials used to build Akon City will be locally sourced.
There are reportedly plans for it to have its own hospital, police station and cryptocurrency already named “AKoin.”
The news comes after Black Panther’s leading man Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer at 43.