The Akon City project is taking shape. The American company KE International has been awarded the contract to build this futuristic and ecological city, which will be located near Mbodième, a small coastal village in the west of Senegal. This locality will see the growth of a town whose development will revolve around a crypto-currency called Akoin that will be launched this year.
According to virtual currency journalist Stanislas Pogorzelski, the Akoin ecosystem is based on the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) and the Akoin Utility token, which uses Atomic Swap technology to facilitate exchanges with other major crypto-currencies, alternative currencies of its partners and cash currencies (such as the CFA franc, dollar or euro, editor’s note).
The construction of the new Akon City will require an investment of $6 billion. The city, which is intended to be environmentally friendly, will be built on an area of 2,000 hectares. KE International has already secured $4 billion for the first and second phase of the project. The consulting and engineering firm has thus chosen to implement this mega project with Bakri & Associates Development Consultants.
The company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will be responsible for the architectural design of Akon City. According to KE International, the first phase of the project, which will be completed in 2023, will result in the construction of roads, a Hamptons Hospital campus, a Hamptons Shopping Centre, residences, hotels, a police station, a school, a landfill for the city’s waste and a solar power plant to supply the whole.
The city has already been designated a “special tax zone” by the Senegalese government. This distinction allows the reduction of imports into Akon City, which is attractive to investors. The city will be integrated into the country’s tourism vision thanks to a partnership signed in January 2020 between the Development and Promotion Company for the Coasts and Tourist Areas of Senegal (Sapco) and the project promoter, the Senegalese American RnB singer Akon, whose real name is Badara Akon Thiam.
The second phase of the Akon City project is scheduled to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2029. It will allow the complete construction of the city which will operate exclusively with Akoin crypto-money. The city will consist of parks, universities, schools, a stadium, hotels and an industrial complex. KE International also indicates that Akon City will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, a North American system for standardizing high environmental quality buildings created by the US Green Building Council.
KE International is not in its first new city in Africa. In December 2020, the company will inaugurate the Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC), a $2 billion green city located in Butere sub-county, Kakamega, in western Kenya. The MMTC will house 4,800 “affordable”, medium-sized, environmentally friendly residences. Also in this new city, a 5,000-bed referral hospital has been built. One of Kenya’s largest shopping centres will be built there, as well as an airport to facilitate the movement of the inhabitants. The electricity consumed in the city will be produced by a 30 MWp solar power plant and a waste incinerator whose heat can produce 144 MW. The city has already obtained LEED certification.
TOUBA, Senegal (AP) — Tens of thousands of Muslims descended upon Senegal’s holy city this week for the annual Grand Magal pilgrimage, a tradition in West Africa that some fear could become a super-spreader event for COVID-19.
The Magal honors the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, Senegal’s most influential religious order. In previous years, as many as 3 million people have traveled to the city of Touba during Magal, with many coming from neighboring Gambia.
With Senegal’s land borders still closed, fewer pilgrims attended the main events Tuesday. Closely packed lines queued up to enter the Grand Mosque of Touba, though hand sanitizer and masks were required to enter.
Mam Thierno, 41, has lived in Italy for nearly a decade but chose to travel home to Senegal for Magal even amid the pandemic, calling it a deeply moving experience for him and his family.
“To go a year without Magal would be too much for me,” he said. “With the pandemic there are people who say we shouldn’t hold the Magal in Touba ... I know the disease is here, COVID-19 exists, but I still came.”
Senegal was among the first African countries to report a confirmed COVID-19 case but has avoided the high death tolls seen elsewhere, in large part due to widespread required mask-wearing and restrictions on travel.
The country has had more than 15,000 confirmed cases and 312 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.
Even with the precautions taken, some are fearful that Touba — once an early virus hotspot — could now see a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the weeks after Magal. Many people crowded into homes due to limited accommodations in town during the pilgrimage.
The virus also could potentially spread to communities far from Touba via people returning home on public transport. Buses only leave for their destination once completely full. Sokhna Bousso Diop couldn’t help notice many of the pilgrims were not following the face-covering rules outside the perimeters of the mosque. Still, she turned to her faith for assurance.
“We are confident that Serigne Touba has not forgotten us,” she said, referring to the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood. “Let’s keep on praying. Everything will go smoothly.”
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that Gorgi Mboob, the head of the Anti –Crime Unit of The Gambia Police Force (GPF) be punished and transferred after the commission conducted an independent investigation of allegation of torture involving the ACU head against one Ebrima Sanneh of Brikama. The independent investigation found the elsewhile head of the ACU to have abused power and harmed Ebrima Sanneh and his colleagues on the 25th of July 2020. The National Human Rights Commission has concluded that all the stories put forward by the Police to justify the arrest and beating of Ebrima Sanneh were pure fabrications. Gorgi Mboob was alleged to have used a hoe to hit the victim (Ebrima Sanneh) on his genitals at the Anti-Crime Headquarters in Bijilo. “The joint investigative panel into the alleged human rights violations against Ebrima Sanneh is pleased to share its findings and recommendations with the general public,” NHRC says in a statement.
“On the 25th of July 2020, disturbing news emerged that a young man, later identified as Ebrima Sanneh, had been allegedly assaulted with a hoe on his private parts in Bijilo by Commissioner Gorgi Mboob, head of the Anti-Crime Unit. Ebrima and others were arrested and detained for being in a night club where fighting allegedly occurred and for possibly violating COVID-19 emergency regulations.” “The panel, which was chaired by the NHRC and comprised representative of the Gambia Police Force, the Ministry of Interior, the Association of Non-governmental Organisations (TANGO) and The Gambia Bar Association received testimonies from seventeen (17) witnesses including Ebrima Sanneh and Commissioner Gorgi Mboob.”
“The panel also obtained medical evidence from the Kanifing General Hospital and interviewed the Medical Doctor that treated Ebrima. The premises of the Anti-Crime Unit in Bijilo were visited to assess the scene of the alleged assault and a detailed report has been shared and well received by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and relevant State authorities.”
“The panel found that the arrest of Ebrima Sanneh and his colleagues was unwarranted as there was no fighting at the night club as alleged by the Police and the Police did not state that the arrest of Ebrima and colleagues was due to breaches of the emergency regulations.”
“Ebrima Sanneh and his colleagues were also subjected to forced labour while in detention and Ebrima was assaulted by Commissioner Gorgi Mboob on his private parts. The medical report showed that unlike rumours of a Sexually Transmitted Infection, Ebrima suffered from trauma on his genitals as a result of the assault.”
“The report however concluded that there was no lasting internal damage. On this basis, the panel made general and specific recommendations on police conduct, assault, forced labour and procedures surrounding arrests.”
Key recommendations made by the panel include:
2•The Police to pay monetary compensation to Ebrima Sanneh for the wrongfully inflicted pain and suffering.
“This should be preceded by a training needs assessment to effectively inform capacity building programmes. General recommendations of the panel focused on conducive working environment for police officers, including the availability of equipment and technology for effective service, standardised cells and detention centres with good ventilation, better hygienic and toilet facilities and separation of women and juveniles.”
“Officers’ training on the use of force must also be reinforced to ensure that the rights of all persons are respected under law regardless of their alleged crime. “I am pleased to receive positive feedback from the IGP in a letter dated 28thSeptember of his intention to implement the recommendations of the joint panel made after a comprehensive investigation into the allegations of assault against Commissioner Gorgi Mboob”, said Emmanuel Joof, Chairperson of the NHRC.”
“NHRC and members of the panel strongly believe that The Gambia Police Force and other law enforcement agencies will uphold the rule of law and human rights standards for the benefit of all Gambians and residents in The Gambia.”
The minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on Tuesday 6 October met his Nigerian counterpart, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, in his office in Abuja, Nigeria.
Following diplomatic engagement with Foreign Minister Tangara and his team, the Nigerian Foreign Minister said his country is pushing towards increasing trade volumes with The Gambia and strengthening bilateral relations across all spheres.
Minister Tangara appreciated Nigeria for the tremendous support it has given to The Gambia and the pivotal role played in the entire sub-region. He further appreciated Nigeria’s support to The Gambia’s Armed Forces and the Judiciary, stating that without Nigeria’s support to the Gambian Judiciary, it would have been completely crippled.
He said to show appreciation, the Gambian President Adama Barrow has decided to posthumously honour Late Gen. Abubakar Dada, a Nigerian soldier who helped in the formation of the Gambian Armed Forces.
“The Gambia is very grateful to Nigeria because if at some point Nigeria were to withdraw from the Judiciary, our judiciary will be completely crippled.
“But with thanks to the support of Nigeria we have been able to build our judiciary with home grown lawyers, magistrates and that could not have been possible without the support of Nigeria.
“In very critical levels you helped us build the most valuable resource in our country, and that is our human resource and we are so grateful for that.
“We cannot also talk about our Armed Forces in The Gambia without mentioning Nigeria. You have been key in the setting up of the Armed Forces of The Gambia.
“And today in The Gambia, people like the Late General Abubakar Dada is a household name in The Gambia.
“Everybody knows about him and we have decided to honour him posthumous and that is the best way we can say Thank you to Nigeria and his family,” Foreign Minister Tangara said.
For his part, Foreign Minister Onyeama said that Nigeria has made enormous contributions to peace and reforms in The Gambia and how much the volume of trade made and how that has translated into something meaningful.
“The Gambia is a small country and there are quite a small number of Nigerians in The Gambia and a lot of them are doing business there.”
“Some are professionals working in The Gambia and the nature of relationship we have is such that Nigerians in The Gambia feel very much at home and very welcomed.
“There are some Nigerian businesses that are very present in The Gambia, banks and we used to have one of our carriers that fly to Gambia some years back.
“There is more we can do and that is what the strengthening of the relations is all about.
“We have a framework for cooperation, bilateral commission and also we will be pushing towards increasing the volume of trade between Nigeria and Gambia,” Onyeama said.
Foreign Minister Onyeama said Nigeria is excited with the restoration of democracy in The Gambia and will continue to engage with the rest of the ECOWAS sub region to sustain this.
“Of course we are cooperating in different areas within the West African sub region addressing the different challenges that are constantly being posed in our sub region.”
“And we count very much on your government, your country as a very strong dependable friend, ally in our efforts to strengthen governance, prosperity in our sub-region.
“Your visit here will give us the opportunity to review the relationship between our two countries and also to identify areas where we can improve things and develop a roadmap going forward,” Onyeama added.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, who happens to be brother to the late General Dada appreciated the Gambian government for honouring his brother.
Top Gambian businessman and philanthropist, Salifu K. Jaiteh, has through his second hand clothing and building material company S.K. Jaiteh and Sons, donated materials worth over D200,000 to the disaster victims of the recent windstorms in Sandu District in the Upper River Region (URR).
The items worth D227, 000 include 50 big and medium bales of clothing and D15,000 cash.
The items were handed over to the National Assembly member for Sandu Constituency, Muhammed Mahanera.
Speaking at the occasion, the managing director and proprietor of SK Jaiteh and Sons, Salifu Jaiteh, made it emphatically clear that the donation was not meant for political reasons but a fulfilment of a request made by the Sandu lawmaker on behalf of his people.
“It has been our tradition to respond to this kind of situation. This is not about praising myself but we have been doing this 30 years ago,” Mr. Jaiteh said.
Jaiteh expressed with sadness the destruction to houses and personal belongings and the displacement of people the disaster has caused.
He praised the lawmaker for leading the relief efforts and urged all who can to help the victims.
In response, Hon. Muhammed Mahanera thanked Salifu Jaiteh and his company for what he called a patriotic gesture.
He said Mr. Jaiteh has set a very good example that should inspire many others to do similar things.
“A lot of communities have been affected in the region but his intervention will significantly make life comfortable again for the victims,” he said.
To God be the Glory!