Idris Elba, Sierra Leone, Abu Dhabi, eco city, friendly, uk Secretary of State, Africa

Idris Elba Building Wind-Powered Eco-City On Island In Sierra Leone

Idris Elba has visions of the future and is hard at work building a new "smart eco-city" on an island in Sierra Leone.

Idris Elba has visions for the future and is hard at work on a new “smart eco-city” he’s building on an island in Sierra Leone.

The British-born actor is staying true to his brand ambassador role in his father’s native Sierra Leone by creating a wind-powered city where people from around the world can come to live, work, invest, and play, CNN reports.

The development comes as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Elba signed with the local government in 2019 to develop an economic hub on Sierra Leone’s Sherbo Island.

The Luther star teased the development during his appearance at Investopia investment conference in Abu Dhabi. It was after a talk with his business partner Siaka Stevens seven years ago when the two started working on a project to bring in tourism to the island’s 19 miles of beachfront terrain.

Given the island’s beachy terrain, blue waters, and sea turtles, Elba decided to expand the project beyond just tourism.

“First of all, it’s a beautiful little island off the coast of Sierra Leone. It’s about the same size as Chicago, there’s about 40,000 inhabitants on it in different regions across the island,” Elba said.

“Sherbro Island used to historically be the point of no return in the slave trade,” he added. “It was where England had their capital city of Sierra Leone [when it was a colony], in a city called Bonthe, which is still there. And the relics of the city are still there: the grid system, road system, the old houses, the churches. It’s an incredibly historically rich part of Sierra Leone.”

Considering Sierra Leone’s economic state as “one of the poorest countries in the world,” investment has been scarce, Elba explained. This prompted his pivot into making the development an investment opportunity in itself.

“What we needed to do is understand how to package an investment opportunity around this beautiful island without destroying it, being climate conscious, and being conscious that there is a youth culture across Africa of the average age of about 20, that wants something,” he shared.

Working alongside a team of experts, Elba has tasked himself with developing the island to bring in new opportunities and representation for West Africa. He’s passionate about the project he sees as his “retirement plan.”

The Wire star also remains a fierce advocate in Africa’s creative arts team and is calling on the government to offer financial support to the growing industry.

“I’ve made nine films in Africa, nine or eight films. Each time I’m there, I see the opportunity’s growing, I see the quality of the work growing, and I just want to contribute more,” Elba said.

Elba signed the MoU in New York City in 2019 as part of his Sherbo Alliance Partners, which he co-founded with Stevens. His father is from Sierra Leone; Elba’s mother is of Ghanaian descent. In 2014, Elba worked with the UK Secretary of State, Justin Greening, to eradicate Ebola from West Africa.