In an interview that covers subjects from Africa’s economic development to the plans for a smart city in Senegal, Akon reveals the brand new AKOIN Mastercard for the broader AKOIN Blockchain project
Introduced by the ever charismatic Trudy Kerr, Akon starts off by pointing out how he’d been an active delegate of AIBC ever since the beginning and had visited Malta multiple times over the span of his career. When asked to elaborate, he reflected on the fact that the AIBC Summit served as the perfect stage to learn where the world is headed in terms of technological innovation and investment.
You get all the information that you need. You understand where the world is going in the future. All the big crypto and blockchain giants, they all come here but you gotta be ahead of everything that’s happening and then you want to be able to integrate with all the new technologies that’s coming because every day the technology is going to another level.
He noted while the new generation of digital natives were taking to the emerging world like fish to water, there should be a constant effort by more mature generations to stay ahead of the curve and keep their fingers on the pulse of disruptive technologies especially when it comes actioning that knowledge into tangible results.
My son knew how to work the iPad when he was three years old. He would go to YouTube every month and find the exact same show. Didn’t know how to read or write by the way, I don’t know how they do it but that just goes to show how the world is becoming so digital that it’s becoming second nature at this point. If you don’t lock it in now and understand the basic code words, the basic utilization cases and just knowing the basic functionality of it, you won’t survive in the future.
Moving towards Akon’s work in Africa, Trudy asks him to elaborate on Akon city and what he plans to work on in the very near future.
We’re building the first prototype in Senegal, West Africa. We’ve already done all the soil studies. We’re literally months away from nationally breaking ground and starting construction itself.
He then reveals that the United Arab Emirates have come onboard as advisors and partners for the construction of the city, leveraging both the resources and their significant well of expertise for the completion of this ambitious project.
Dubai came on board and believed in the project. They’re actually now coming on board to help me structure because I always wanted to partner with people that have done it before so I don’t have to make the same mistakes they made. As you can see, Dubai, the way they built that city in 20 years and where it sat, they clearly know more than I know. They also have a huge interest in Africa as well, too. I help them. They help us. I’m super excited about where this is going.
He then elaborated on his hopes for the entirety of Africa. The continent is in a very specific phase of its history, a land rich beyond comparison with resources and human capital with entire demographics of entrepreneurs willing to spearhead a new era of local prosperity. Yet this isn’t reflected in neither the physical nor the economic infrastructure of the continent. This being said, Akon himself noted that this itself could prove to be a useful aspect since it gives the continent the ability to “leapfrog” technologically, skipping over older and more redundant infrastructure.
It’s like a white slate. It’s underdeveloped. We have all the resources, we don’t have to go outside to get anything. We can build the whole city in Africa with Africa’s resources. The human resources are even better because we’re almost reached 1.5 billion people now. So now imagine Akon city in Senegal and we branch it off to all these other countries. We’ve already closed Uganda and then we’re going to go into Rwanda and we’re going to go into Kenya.
When asked to reflect on what made him choose Senegal as the platform from which he could ignite the passion to revolutionize the continent, Akon revealed that his Senegalese roots played a crucial part in his decision. His feeling of duty towards his homeland manifested in a drive to catalyze the development of the African economy as a whole.
The ambition is to create the spark that eventually creates the fire to develop Africa the right way.
The interview concluded with one final announcement: the AKOIN Mastercard. In terms of the currency, Akon envisions a token built on utility and one that lets native Africans use the currency as a tool for genuine finance and investment rather than speculation investment.
It’s actually a real currency that’s being used right now today in Africa. We started in Kenya where we created a pilot project where people are being paid their payroll from work in AKOIN and they’re utilizing AKOIN as a way of buying medication at the Mwale Medical Centre. It’s a real thing and it’s real transactions on mobile phones. Just yesterday, we actually launched the AKOIN MasterCard.. I actually used it to check into my hotel.
With the Mastercard in place, AKOIN has moved one giant leap forward towards being a pillar for the African economic ecosystem and a bellwether for things to come for the continent as a whole.
AIBC returns to the United Arab Emirates:
Drawing the leading figures of the emerging tech world to the Middle Eastern metropoles for cutting edge technology, the 2022 AIBC UAE expo plans to unite the policy-makers, developers, C-suite executives, and legal experts of the burgeoning AI and Blockchain sectors. Through three days of educational panels, inspiring keynote speeches, workshops, and networking events, the expo seeks to create the foundation that the Industrial Revolution 4.0 can be built upon. Join us from the 20th to 23rd March 2022, in UAE.