US musician’s crypto-currency to ‘kill corruption’ in Africa

Read time 2min 40sec
Musician and producer Akon.
Musician and producer Akon.

US musician Akon says his new crypto-currency, called Akoin, will help to combat corruption in Africa and empower the youth of the continent.

In June, the Missouri-born rapper, who is of Senegalese descent, announced, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, his plans to launch a crypto-currency.

The currency is expected to make its debut at the beginning of 2020.

During a recent interview, the multi-platinum-selling artist told CNN Business the currency is aimed at supporting the youth of Africa, many of whom remain excluded from the financial system, as well as root out corruption, through its immutability and transparency qualities.

“The platform is built to be a worldwide platform but I’m targeting Africa specifically because that’s where the need is the most,” he explained.

“It will help some of the youth of the continent to get over some of the challenges they may have in establishing small businesses. One of our biggest issues and biggest problems on the continent has always been corruption. You know the corruption is the reason why the continent has never been built to become a super-power.”

The African continent has 15% of the world’s population. It is the most valuable region in the world in terms of under- and above-ground resources, yet it remains among the poorest, he noted.

The Akoin ecosystem will unlock the potential of the world's largest emerging economy through the creation of a trusted crypto-currency with a vision to stimulate and innovate revenue-generating opportunities. He said the system, which will be predominantly used via mobile phones, will make use of airtime or cellphone minutes.

“We want to be able to kill that corruption through the blockchain itself.Africa is not actually controlled by Africans but rather by outside forces and this often has a hold on its resources and materialising some ideas that people may have.

“They need to utilise the continent’s resources to their own benefit, and this crypto-currency is one way to help them find new solutions and fix some challenges they may face; from there the future can be built in Africa.”

The singer, whose real name is Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, has a net worth of $80 million. He shot to fame in 2004 with the release of his album, Trouble. He has since released other albums under his record label, Konvict Muzik.

He has collaborated with artists such as Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Gwen Stefani, bringing his contributing efforts as a guest artist to a total of over 300 appearances.

The artist’s electricity initiative, Akon Lighting Africa, which helps source financing for solar panels and smaller lighting projects, has helped over a million households in Africa, since inception in 2014.

The project, which distributes street lamps, domestic and individual solar kits, has employed over 5 000 people who work across 25 African nations.

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