Akon is putting all his chips on the table when it comes to cryptocurrency. While some are still leery of the concept, Akon believes that the idea could change the world—starting with Africa.
On Wednesday, Akon penned a piece for Fortune in which he explained why his homeland is “a cryptocurrency frontier.” He stated that South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria are among the world leaders in peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading. This has turned the continent into a cryptocurrency hub with projects like South Africa–based Luno Exchange supporting millions of customers in various countries.
Akon believes that the boom is made possible because Africa has the youngest population of any other continent. Currently, there are 226 million people between 15-24 with this number expected to double by 2045. If these trends correlate, this will only make Africa a deeper well for cryptocurrency as time progresses.
Although this seems optimistic, Akon is troubled by the continent’s lack of support and resources. He thinks that Africa’s youth will be bypassed by other countries because it isn’t fully connected to the global financial system.
“That’s why it’s important to open up the doors for Africans to have a say in their financial future,” Akon wrote. “Crypto puts power back into the hands of the people by creating a transparent environment where trust can flourish.”
Akon admits that he has a financial interest in writing this article since he is developing two futuristic cities in Africa that will operate on his Akoin cryptocurrency. But he does think that it’s necessary to reinvest into Africa and now is the perfect time to do so.
“Africa is one of the only places in the world that can start from scratch and implement every new technological development and invention coming to fruition today without the need to break down existing infrastructure,” he explained. “Major countries and regions, from the U.S. to Europe to China, can’t deploy the latest technologies without having to demolish and reconstruct everything that’s already been built. That’s why Africa can lead the crypto and blockchain charge.”
Although Akon’s motives seem pure, some critics believe that the singer-turned-mogul is taking advantage of a vulnerable situation as a way to increase his net worth. These pundits point to his newly announced Akon City, Uganda as proof of this. Uganda has nearly torn apart after the reelection of President Yoweri Museveni earlier this year. The internet was dismantled and allegations of voter fraud started to spread. Many people view Akon’s partnership as support for this oppressive government.
“Museveni has exploited your meeting with him for official propaganda, as his regime seeks to capitalize on your global prestige to whitewash its image and distract from its most recent wave of repression,” an open letter to Akon reads per Billboard. Activists now want Akon to openly admit that he’s not endorsing Museveni’s presidency with his new cryptocurrency city.