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Idris Elba plans to build an eco-friendly ‘smart city’ on a remote island off the coast of Sierra Leone

BRITISH actor Idris Elba has revealed plans to develop Sherbro Island, a remote island off the coast of Sierra Leone, into an eco-friendly ‘smart city’. The initiative aims to create an ‘afro-dynamic eco-city’ that prioritizes sustainability, community, and economic growth were reported by the British tabloid Daily Mail in an exclusive report.

According to the Mail, Sherbro Alliance Partners (SAP), the development team behind the project, is committed to preserving the island’s delicate ecosystem, which spans 230 square miles and includes mangrove forests and sea turtle nesting sites. With a population of approximately 40,000 people, most of whom are engaged in fishing and rice farming, Sherbro Island presents an opportunity to cultivate economic prosperity while respecting its natural environment.

Mail reported that Elba, speaking to the BBC, described the project as a ‘big dream’ and emphasized his vision of reframing Africa’s image from a recipient of aid to a hub of innovation and self-reliance. The Hackney-born star, known for his roles in film and television, including the critically acclaimed series ‘Luther’, has expressed his commitment to revitalizing his father’s homeland and promoting sustainable development.

According to the Mail, the journey towards transforming Sherbro Island began when Elba partnered with childhood friend Siaka Stevens, grandson of Sierra Leone’s former president, to explore development opportunities in the country. Initially conceived as a boutique hotel project to boost tourism, the venture evolved into a comprehensive plan to establish Sherbro Island City in collaboration with the Sierra Leonean government.


President Julius Maada Bio has expressed his support for the initiative, describing it as a potential economic engine for the country and its neighbors, the Mail reported. Mocked-up plans envision a futuristic cityscape with glassy office buildings, residential complexes, and green spaces, signaling a departure from the island’s current reality of run-down infrastructure and limited amenities.

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Octopus Energy, a British energy supplier, has joined forces with SAP to develop Sierra Leone’s first wind farm on Sherbro Island. The project aims to address the island’s energy needs and explore the possibility of turning it into an ‘energy island’ equipped with battery stations for electric vehicles.

Despite the ambitious vision, significant investment will be required to realize Elba’s dream of a sustainable and prosperous Sherbro Island. While no specific budget or timeline has been announced, Elba remains committed to the project, describing it as his ‘retirement plan’ and a testament to his Sierra Leonean heritage.

As the development of Sherbro Island progresses, it promises to be a beacon of innovation and resilience, showcasing Africa’s potential for sustainable growth and self-determination. With Elba’s leadership and the support of partners like SAP and Octopus Energy, Sherbro Island is poised to become a model for eco-friendly urban development in the region.

For Elba, the journey to transform Sherbro Island is not just a personal endeavor but a testament to the transformative power of vision and collaboration. As he once declared during his first visit to Sierra Leone in 2019, ‘The son of the soil is coming back to fertilize the soil.’

By The African Mirror