Idris Elba’s Vision for an Eco-Friendly Smart City in Sierra Leone

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2024/mar/18/idris-elba-reveals-dream-of-building-eco-city-on-island-off-sierra-leone
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Idris Elba’s Vision for an Eco-Friendly Smart City in Sierra Leone

Idris Elba, the renowned actor and producer, has set his sights on a remarkable project that aims to transform an island off the coast of Sierra Leone into an environmentally friendly smart city. This dream project, named Sherbro, holds special significance for Elba as it is the country where his father was born. Teaming up with his childhood friend Siaka Stevens, Elba envisions Sherbro as a culturally diverse international city that blends African tradition with modern infrastructure.

Shifting Focus: From Tourism to Sustainable Development in Sierra Leone’s Sherbro Island

Originally conceived as a tourism venture to capitalize on the island’s stunning 19 miles of beachfront, Elba and Stevens realized that Sierra Leone was not yet ready for a significant influx of tourists. Instead, they shifted their focus to a more ambitious goal: creating an eco city through a public-private partnership. Their company, Sherbro Alliance Partners (SAP), has secured agreements with the Sierra Leonean government and major firms to develop the island sustainably.

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One of the key aspects of the project is the construction of Sierra Leone’s first windfarm on the island, in partnership with the energy company Octopus. This initiative is crucial as the island currently lacks mains electricity. Elba is committed to ensuring that the development of Sherbro is sustainable and respects the local culture and environment. He emphasizes the importance of creating an economy that is self-reliant and has growth potential, aiming to reframe the narrative around Africa from one of aid to one of economic empowerment.

Idris Elba and Stevens Emphasize Sustainability and Community in Groundbreaking African Eco-City Project

Elba and Stevens have outlined three key principles for the project: developing based on African cultural values, designing infrastructure that is adaptable to changing conditions, and following eco city principles such as environmental friendliness and resilience to climate change. They have also made efforts to consult with the island’s residents, demonstrating their commitment to community engagement.

While the project is ambitious and faces feasibility challenges, Elba remains determined to see it through. He acknowledges that he may not be qualified for such a monumental task but believes in the power of dreaming big. For Elba, this project is not just about building a smart city but also about honoring his heritage and creating a legacy that his father would be proud of.

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As Elba works towards making his dream a reality, the world watches with anticipation, hoping to see Sherbro Island transform into a shining example of sustainable development and cultural preservation.

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