The future is here in Africa – Akon


Senegalese hitmaker and social activist, Akon believes the future of the African continent can be cultivated in Africa and that Africans need to not look outside of the borders for opportunities. 

Born Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam in Senegal and raised in the States where he has went on to become a global sensation, Akon was the  co-host of the recently concluded TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Draw in Abidjan. 

Speaking to CAFOnline on the sidelines of the Draw, Akon had a strong message to young African people on the importance of identifying opportunities here and not always looking at going outside of the continent for better opportunities. 

This is what he had to say:

Your love and passionate for the growth and development of the African continent is well documented. Where does this passion stem from? 

It started off with my parents. They were both were born and raised in Senegal and then they made sure we were born in the States, but we were raised in Senegal. 

Shortly after birth we were shipped back to Senegal and that culture, environment and the family tradition was all embezzled within me when I went back to the States for school. 

I just never really left. I have always had the African identity you know what I mean?  Just because you are born someplace, doesn’t make you that place. Your blood is definitely where you come from and my blood is definitely 100% African.

What do you make of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations as the biggest event on African soil?

This is amazing man. I think these are events that we need to promote because this is what gives Africa the recognition on the sport and entertainment side. 

These are actual jewels that we have, that we don’t market enough and I think situations like these will help us do that.

Your thoughts on Senegal performance in the AFCON, particularly in the 2019 edition when they lost in the final and coming back to lift it a few years later in Cameroon?

Well I mean of course, everybody has the hopes of winning. When you look at it as us being the reigning champions of Africa, I think it’s long overdue. Senegal has always been a heavily football related nation and we need to go on and create a lot more opportunities for ourselves.

As an African living abroad, how has life been for you for someone who has achieved so much in a foreign land? 

Well me being living out of Africa has been painful. I don’t want to lie to you, I prefer to live in Africa if I could. For those who want to live and do things outside of Africa, they are actually going in the wrong direction. 

The future is here in Africa. All of our talents, all of our recourses and ambitions are right here on the continent. If you do go outside of Africa, bring whatever knowledge you get and invest it back home.