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Akon just has officially launched his $6 billion ‘futuristic’ Akon city in Senegal. The Senegalese American artist, whose full name is Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, was in Africa to lay the first stone in a cornfield on 2,000 acres of coastal land given to him by the Senegalese government.

Construction, he said, is set to begin early next year. Akon City will run on a cryptocurrency called Akoin, the performer said. It will be self-powered and environmentally friend

Akon, who was born in the United States to Senegalese parents, spent much of his childhood in the West African country wherein only 44 percent of rural households had electricity even in 2018. Senegalese authorities have embraced him as a native son, introducing him by his given name Aliuane Thiam and praising him for investing in Africa at a time of such global financial uncertainty.

On Monday, he traveled with government officials to the grassy fields in Mbodienne some 100 km outside the capital, where construction has yet to begin. Tourism Minister Alioune Sarr said Akon’s launch comes at a time when private investment is scarce and badly needed. International flights have resumed in Senegal, but at the moment are only for citizens and residents with a few exceptions.