The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and Sherbro Alliance Partners (SAP) have signed the Investment Framework Agreement (IFA) in progress of the Sherbro Island city project.
The signing was climaxed with a visit to the island and further consultations with stakeholders.
The common vision for Sherbro Island City, is to transform the island into an engine of economic growth for Sierra Leone and the surrounding West Africa region.
Operated under a legal regime designed to attract and protect long-term investment, Sherbro Island will develop a diversified service 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 application of smart technology and climate-sensitive policies.
Idris Elba, known as Paramount Chief Kong Mbakie on Sherbro, visited the Island recently to meet with the mayor, local chiefs, and other stakeholders. The purpose of his visit was to reaffirm his dedication and commitment to the project, as well as to update stakeholders on the lengthy but productive negotiations with the GoSL, following the signing of an Investment Framework Agreement (IFA) in December 2022.
The parties reached an agreement on the IFA in Washington D.C. during the US-Africa Leader’s Summit, with U.S. Senator Gregory Meeks praising the project and GoSL’s commitment to innovation and development.
Mr. Elba stated that he did not want to go public with the news of the IFA signing during the Summit. Instead, he wished to revisit the Island and deliver the news in person.
He expressed his gratitude to his Excellency, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, for his continued support for the project, as well as to Ministers Jacob Jusu Saffa, David Sengeh, and other members of the government negotiation team for their tireless work behind the scenes to bring the project to where it is today.
In a statement, Mr. Elba said: “Our commitment lies in supporting the growth of Sierra Leone by developing Sherbro Island, in partnership the Government of Sierra Leone. This project will benefit all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of their tribal or political affiliations. As a Paramount Chief in Bonthe, I have a duty to the residents of Sherbro Island that I take very seriously. I want the world to see the potential and natural beauty of Sierra Leone.”
During the town hall meeting, Mr. Elba emphasised the importance of establishing a strong foundation for the project to have a lasting impact on future generations. He set out the next steps in the process, including, the need to market and promote the project internationally and to continue to organise the detailed feasibility studies that will be carried out by SAP and world-class consultants.
The project will drive the development of a transformative, large-scale, sustainable economy, on Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone. SAP was founded in 2019 by Idris Elba and Siaka Stevens, who came together over their commitment to building a legacy in Sierra Leone.
A Paramount Chief for Bonthe, Sherbro Island, Mr. Elba is well known by many as a global actor, producer, musician, and humanitarian. He has worked on several projects in Sierra Leone over the years.
Mr. Stevens is a British-Sierra Leonean entrepreneur and the grandson of the late President Siaka Stevens. The SAP team is made up of experienced strategic advisors and lawyers.
To transform Sherbro Island’s economy and bring investment at scale into Sierra Leone, a radical approach is required. GoSL and SAP’s commitment to transformation by building the right enabling environment for investors, residents, and visitors to Sherbro is critical.
A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a geographically delineated region that is subject to different economic regulations to other regions in the same country for the purpose of attracting levels of foreign direct investment that could not otherwise be achieved.