British actor, Idris Elba, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Sierra Leone on how to build a new city- Sherbo Island.
Mr Elba’s father and mother are of Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian origins respectively.
The Sherbo Island city, which is located on Sherbo island, the southern coast of Sierra Leone, is a project that is structured as a public-private partnership between Sierra Leone and Sherbo Alliance Partners, which Mr Elba co-owns with Siaska Stevens.
The signing of the MoU reportedly took place in New York and had in attendance, the President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio and Nabeel Farida respectively.
According to a release by the GoSL, the project will serve as an engine of economic growth for Sierra Leone and the surrounding West Africa region.
“Operated under an investment and legal regime designed to attract and protect long-term investment, Sherbo Island City will develop a diversified services and manufacturing economy that creates job opportunities for Sierra Leoneans and attracts new capabilities to the region.
“The project will integrate efficient infrastructure with transparent and effective governance, supported by the intelligent application of smart technology.
“Leveraging the natural beauty, Sherbo Island City’s economy is expected to be initially driven by tourism with projects developed and constructed with respect for the island’s biodiversity. Early projects for agricultural products and services and aquaculture farms are also under consideration,” the release read.
Commenting on the project, Mr Bio said the partnership would also give confidence to foreign investors to see Sierra Leone as “a premier investment destination.”
“We believe Sherbro Island City will be an economic engine for our country and neighbours and also demonstrate our ability to partner in a large-scale project with transparency and integrity and support us in branding our country, ” he said.
Mr Elba reportedly expressed his happiness over the new commitment to develop his father’s homeland.
“My commitment to Sherbo Islam City is driven by a desire to make a difference but to do so in a fashion which produces tangible benefits for West Africans that may be sustained over the long-term,” he said.
Mr Elba collaborated with the UK Secretary of State, Justin Greening, in efforts to eradicate Ebola from West Africa in 2014.