Award-winning actor Idris Elba is partnering with the government of Sierra Leone to develop the island of Sherbro into a major tourist and business attraction for the country.
The British actor’s mother is from Sierra Leone and his father is of Ghanaian descent. His parents married in Sierra Leone before moving to London where Elba was born.
Elba is investing in Sherbro Island through Sherbro Alliance Partners, a company he co-owns with Siaka Stevens, an entrepreneur from a prominent family in Sierra Leone, according to a government press release.
Tourism and the island’s unique biodiversity are expected to be important elements of Sherbro’s appeal.
Known for its natural beauty, Sherbro Island is a breeding ground for green sea turtles as well as leatherback sea turtles. The waters surrounding the island are home to some of the biggest tarpon fish in the world.
“My commitment to Sherbro Island 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,” Elba said in the press statement.
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With a population of fewer than 30,000 people, Sherbro is a small island off the Sierra Leone coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The island is 32 miles long and around 15 miles wide.
Elba became famous for his lead role on the HBO hit series “The Wire” and starred in films including “Molly’s Game”, “Avengers”, and “Hobbs and Shaw”.
In June, Elba met with Sierra Leone President Julius Bio in London to discuss his ideas for Sherbro Island. The president was excited about the proposal and invited the actor to visit the country.
In October Elba’s company reached a deal with the Sierra Leone government to develop Sherbro Island as a city and economic hub.
In addition to tourism, fishing and manufacturing are expected to be priorities as part of the island’s development.
Early pilot projects for agricultural products and services and aquaculture farms are already under construction.
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The press release did not provide any details on how much money Elba and Stevens will be investing in the project.