Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 March 2020:
There are reports in the British media that Idris Elba is planning to open a luxury resort in Sierra Leone, once he recovers from the coronavirus, according to The Mirror.
Idris who tested positive for the virus, had earlier expressed strong interest in investing in Sierra Leone’s tourism industry when he met the president in London last year (Photo below) and signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Sierra Leone. He also spoke about his investment interests during his maiden visit to the country last December.
According to The Mirror newspaper, quoting a source; ‘Idris saw real potential when he visited Sierra Leone. It made an impact on him and he wants to create something positive for the country and give back.’
It is reported that Idris Elba impatient to get well soon from the coronavirus, so he can start working on his Richard Branson-style holiday empire. The Luther star is said to be determined to turn his dad’s native Sierra Leone into Africa’s answer to Dubai.
Friends of the actor say he wants to create a luxury eco-resort of restaurants, bars and hotels and is sounding out possible investors.
Idris, 49, was diagnosed with the virus last week after meeting with Sophie Trudeau, wife of Canadian premier Justin in London. The actor is in quarantine at home with his model wife Sabrina, 30, but says he’s “doing OK” and has had no fever.
He fell in love with Sierra Leone when he visited its capital Freetown last year. His dad, Winston, was born in the West African country, which was torn apart by a brutal civil war from 1991-2002. Winston moved to London, raising Idris in Hackney, London.
The star was awarded citizenship when he visited Sierra Leone. He called it “the biggest honour I could get from my country”.
A source says of his plans: “Idris saw real potential when he visited Sierra Leone. It made an impact on him and he wants to create something positive for the country and give back.
“Tourism is developing out there and he wants to help it to grow and thrive and look forward. He’s looking at the development of a luxury eco-resort with hotels, restaurants, nightlife, private beaches.
“He thinks it could be the next Dubai and wants to turn it into a real holiday hotspot and put the country on the map as a must-see destination.”
And while Idris, tipped to be the next James Bond, is stuck indoors, he has time to mull over his plans. He is also a DJ, and has played top clubs in Ibiza, so will hope to make Sierra Leone’s nightlife buzz, The Mirror reports.
The source added: “He met the country’s president Julius Maada Bio, who made him a brand ambassador and he has promised to shine a light on the nation.
“As soon as it is safe to do so, Idris will be working on this project, speaking to developers and investors about coming on board.”
Rough estimate puts the total cost of this project at over £10 million. And if it goes ahead, will create jobs for thousands of young people in Sierra Leone, with a massive impact on the country’s declining GDP and poor foreign exchange earnings which has accounted for over 40% decline in the Leone in the last three years.
The global coronavirus pandemic will have a devastating impact on Sierra Leone’s economy which is currently facing huge challenges.
Investments in key sectors of the economy – such as tourism, agriculture, agro-processing, and fisheries, are yet to materialise despite promises and efforts by the president, who took office about two years ago.