Where is Akon’s Smart City?

A year after singer Akon laid the first stone of the $6 billion futuristic city he vowed to build for his native Senegal, the site remains grassland. Construction of “Akon City,” a project due to feature ultramodern twisting skyscrapers, was already meant to have begun near the Atlantic Ocean village of Mbodiene. But building work is yet to start, prompting residents who were hoping for jobs to wonder about its future. The city’s otherworldly design is partly inspired by Wakanda, he said at the time, referring to the fictional African city of the “Black Panther” Marvel movie and comic series. Akon City’s planners also say it will be a “beacon of innovation and human development” that will boost industry in the West African state of Senegal. A stadium, casino, luxury high-rise apartment complexes, and an education district that will “accommodate the most prestigious universities in the world” are also part of the plans. The glittering vision is a far cry from the existing sleepy hamlet of Mbodiene, about 100 kilometres south of the capital, where pigs roll in the muck and donkeys amble along the road. Locals interviewed by AFP said they knew little about Akon City, nor why construction had been delayed.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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