Senegalese- American singer Akon has left many people talking since his arrival in Uganda yesterday morning.
What Brings Akon To Uganda?
With others excited and some questioning Akon’s visit to Uganda, the rap star’s trip to the pearl of Africa is solely in search of investment opportunities that would extend his business footprint in Africa, where his efforts include a planned futuristic city.
The singer, real names Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam jetted into the country to meet President Museveni at the latter’s country home in Rwakitura.
On arrival, Akon who was welcomed by Ugandan BET award winner Eddy Kenzo first visited the Old Kampala Mosque where he held prayers with Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, before he boarded a military chopper to Rwakitura to have a talk with President Yoweri Museveni.
Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora affairs said Akon’s visit is a follow-up of an earlier visit by his wife Rozina Negusei earlier in February which ended with a promise to return with husband and investors.
The singer on arrival was accompanied by a delegation of CEOs from over 13 companies from USA, Turkey, UK and France.
While in Uganda, Akon’s wife, Negusei pledged to invest $12m USD in the country’s entertainment sector.
According to Amb. Walusimbi, Akon came to meet the president as a potential investor. He is here to explore more investment opportunities, Walusimbi confirmed.
“Akon and his wife, have come to Uganda in search of business opportunities in a number of sectors like energy, tourism, and infrastructure development. I am happy to engage in such a discussion that will uplift our people and Africa at large,” President Museveni said.
“Mama Janet Museveni and I told Akon and his wife that Uganda is the best tourism destination, known for its fantastic weather, considering that we are right on the Equator but with a high altitude. This is unique! There are only about two other places gifted that much, the President added.
Amb. Walusimbi further noted how the Senegalese singer who has established himself as a big investor after recently acquiring a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo has also set up several investments including the Akon city back home in Senegal.
“Indeed if all goes well, you never know he might end up setting another Akon city in Uganda,” Walusimbi added.
Akon City: A “Real-Life” Wakanda
A Grammy-nominated singer and record producer, Akon has made headlines in recent years as a pan-African businessman interested in opportunities on the continent of 1.3 billion people. In December a company associated with Akon reached a deal with a state miner to develop a copper and cobalt mine in resource-rich Congo.
But Akon’s most ambitious goal is to build a $6 billion utopian city in Senegal that he described as a “real-life Wakanda,” comparing it to the technologically advanced fictional African place portrayed in the blockbuster film “Black Panther.”
The singer last year acknowledged the comparisons made between Akon City and the utopian society in “Black Panther,” calling it an “honor.”
Akon City is envisaged to have its own hospital, police station and even its own cryptocurrency already named AKoin. It promises a bit of everything: a seaside resort, a tech hub, recording studios and even a zone dubbed “Senewood” that developers hope will help develop Senegal’s film industry.
About The Akon Lighting Africa Project
theGrapevine understands that over 6 years back, Akon started a group that backs solar energy projects in the rural parts of many African countries. The inspiration for Akon Lighting Africa was deeply personal; he found his grandmother was still using candles in Senegal to light her home.
The singer was then inspired to come up with the Akon Lighting Africa project started in 2014 by himself, with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang. The project aims to provide electricity by solar energy in Africa, and their initial technique is to install solar street lights and small energy systems.
By Baron Kironde