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Independent AfricaIdris Elba leads smart city project to challenge stereotypes in Sierra Leone

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Idris Elba leads smart city project to challenge stereotypes in Sierra Leone

Actor Idris Elba, spearheading the development of a smart city in Sierra Leone, states that his motivation for the project is to challenge the stereotypical image of Africa.

Elba, in collaboration with Siaka Stevens, the grandson of Sierra Leone’s former president, shares plans to construct the eco-city on rural Sherbro Island, situated off the West African coast.

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Partnering with renewable energy firm Octopus Energy Generation, the initiative aims to establish a sustainable energy source for residents through wind and solar farms.

This endeavor is particularly significant as currently, fewer than one-third of households in Sierra Leone have access to electricity.

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“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.

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Elba informed Newsday that the city aims to draw businesses and innovation, as well as cater to tourists and uplift local communities.

Additionally, the actor intends to establish a film studio and a retirement home for his mother within the city.

Elba’s mother hails from Ghana but relocated to the UK, while his late father was of Sierra Leonean descent.

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