American popstar Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, also known as Akon arrived in Uganda this morning on what he said is a business trip.
Akon was received by Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Musician & Tourism Ambassador Eddy kenzo, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda Tourism Board & Sheik Ramadhan Mulindwa from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
During his visit, Akon is expected to meet president Kaguta Museveni to discuss different investment opportunities in various sectors of Energy, Tourism, Infrastructure development, among others.
Born in the U.S. and raised in Senegal, besides being a famous music star, Akon is a businessman. The “Smack That” singer owns a range of businesses both in US and Africa including a clothing line in New York City, a diamond mine in South Africa, and a solar lighting company whose business spans across more than 14 African states.
In an interview with Aljazeera, Akon said he is a businessman first and a musician second. He has also taken his brand beyond his art and he’s taken it to Africa targeting several entrepreneurial hotspots on the continent.
Details about his mine in South Africa however remain shady but when asked where he gets such unique and extravagant diamond jewelry, Akon revealed that he owns his very own diamond mine in South Africa.
Now he’s building a $6 billion sustainable smart city in Senegal that leaves little doubt as to the star power behind it and named Akon City. He also owns a cryptocurrency franchise in his country. The 2,000-acre waterfront city is being designed to serve as a hub for business and tourism, and the renderings are the stuff of science fiction.
Akon City’s official website depicts a futuristic metropolis filled with gleaming twisting skyscrapers and palm trees. If Akon all goes his way, he says this will be the first of several more Akon-branded smart cities throughout Africa.
Akon speaks with an American accent and identifies as an African raised in America, “but my mind is not American,” he told Aljazeera, “It’s clearly African. I went to school in America but all my early childhood, I was raised in Africa. Then I came to America, and we would go back to Africa every summer for vacation. And then when I graduated high school, there was the choice of going back to Africa or stay in the U.S. And the opportunities in the U.S. were so much greater.”