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Sierra Leone signs charter city development deal

The project will integrate efficient infrastructure with transparent and effective governance, supported by the “intelligent application” of smart technology.

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Sierra Leone's Sherbro Island City project is structured as a public-private partnership
Sierra Leone's Sherbro Island City project is structured as a public-private partnership

The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and Sherbro Alliance Partners have agreed a strategic partnership for the development of a charter city, Sherbro Island City.

 

Charter cities have special jurisdiction to create their own governance systems. Examples include Singapore, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dubai.

 

GoSL’s aim is for the city to serve as an ‘engine’ of economic growth for Sierra Leone and the surrounding West Africa region.

 

Investment and legal regime

 

Located on Sherbro Island on the southern coast of Sierra Leone, it will be operated under an investment and legal regime designed to attract and protect long-term investment.

 

According to GoSL, Sherbro Island City will develop a diversified services 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 “intelligent application” of smart technology.

“We believe that Sherbro Island City will be an economic engine for our country and neighbours. It will also demonstrate our ability to partner in a large-scale project with transparency and integrity”

Leveraging the island’s natural beauty, the city’s economy is expected to be initially driven by tourism, with projects developed and constructed with respect for the island’s biodiversity.

 

Early pilot projects for agricultural products and services and aquaculture farms are also under consideration, under the terms of the memorandum of understanding (MoU).

 

GoSL said it has entered into the partnership, not only to accelerate economic development of the country but also to give confidence to foreign investors that Sierra Leone is a “premier investment destination”.

 

“We believe that Sherbro Island City will be an economic engine for our country and neighbours. It will also demonstrate our ability to partner in a large-scale project with transparency and integrity” and support us in rebranding our country,” said Dr Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone.

 

The Sherbro Island City project is structured as a public-private partnership between the GoSL and Sherbro Alliance Partners, a company co-founded by actor and humanitarian, Idris Elba, and Siaka Stevens.

 

Elba reportedly, long harboured the intent to support the creation of a vehicle with the potential to have a transformative impact in his father’s homeland of Sierra Leone.

 

Stevens is the co-founder of the Sherbro Island City project and from a long-established Sierra Leone family.

 

“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,” added Elba.

 

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