Grammy-nominated singer Akon’s recently revealed plans to build his own Crypto City not only adds to his role as a driver for social change but reflects that Africa is keen to adopt fintech for social betterment.
This is not the first of Akon’s innovative projects which have been designed to drive societal changes. Launched in 2014, Akon Lighting Africa was formed to attempt to address Africa’s energy crisis with an initiative to develop an innovative solar-powered solution to provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity.
Due to the Akon Lighting Africa project, a wide range of quality solar solutions, including street lamps, domestic and individual kits, have been installed in 14 African countries, and “…a number of households, villages, community houses, schools and health centers located in rural areas have been connected to electricity for the first time ever”.
The surge in popularity of cryptocurrencies has contributed to the opening of at least 15 new trading venues in South Africa within the past year alone. Peer-to-peer marketplaces also recorded a surge in trading volumes as Bitcoin’s price reached historic highs at the end of last year, writes News BTC. Of cryptocurrency, Akon says it “allows the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow the government to do those things that are keeping them down”.
The backbone to Akon’s latest monumental plan will be the singer’s own cryptocurrency Akoin, described on its site as “a unique global project that offers an abundance of digital and in-real-life platforms and experiences that create opportunity and inclusion for youth entrepreneurs”. The construction of the city said to be a 100% crypto environment. It is planned to be built on 2,000 acres of land gifted to Akon from the President of Senegal, within five minutes of the country’s new international airport near Dakar.
There are many reasons why Africans are beginning to turn to cryptocurrencies rather than traditional currencies. Many nationals fall foul of inflation and hyperinflation, resulting in weak and unstable financial systems. Recently, countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and oil-rich Nigeria have all suffered, many of these countries with inflation rates well into the hundreds of percentages. In these situations, it is hardly surprising that populations look to a more stable form of monetary solutions in their daily lives.
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