Film star Idris Elba, who is leading the construction of a smart city in Sierra Leone, says he took on the project to change the stereotypical perception of Africa.

Elba is building the eco-city on the rural Sherbro Island off the coast of West Africa along with Siaka Stevens, a grandson of Sierra Leone’s former president, who shared the same name.

They are partnering with the renewable energy company Octopus Energy Generation.

The island city will have a wind and solar farm to provide power to residents.

Currently, less than a third of homes in Sierra Leone have electricity.

“Are we ever gonna make a profit? I don’t think so, but it is about being self-reliant, it’s about bringing an economy that feeds itself, that has growth potential,” Elba told the BBC Newsday programme.

“I’m very keen to sort of reframe the way Africa is viewed. We often view the framing of Africa as an aid model and this opportunity is completely different,” he added.

Elba told Newsday that the city is intended to attract business and innovation, while also appealing to holidaymakers and empowering local communities.

The actor also plans to set up a film studio there, along with a retirement home for his mother.

Elba’s mother is a Ghanaian who moved to the UK, while his late father was of Sierra Leonean origin.

Source: BBC


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