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What do you do when you’re a famous Hollywood actor and you’re asked to get involved with 19 miles of beachfront in a West African country? You create an eco-friendly smart city.

Idris Elba has become involved in Sherbro Island, an island that forms part of Sierra Leone. The actor’s father was born in that country.

One of the island’s coolest features is that it will bring wind-powered renewable electricity to the country for the very first time.

“It’s a dream, you know, but I work in the make-believe business,” the 51-year-old told BBC.

“It’s about being self-reliant, it’s about bringing an economy that feeds itself and has growth potential. I’m very keen to reframe the way Africa is viewed… as an aid model.”

Elba got involved in the Sherbro Island project when Siaka Stevens invited him to assist with the development of the eco-city idea. The childhood friends both grew up in east London, but their fathers are from Sierra Leone.

Sherbro Alliance Partners was created to develop Sherbro Island City, an economic engine for the West African country and its neighbours.

There are currently more than 30,000 people living on the island which is about 600 square kilometres in size.

Image credit: BBC

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