The story behind Sherbro Island City & Sherbro Alliance Partners (SAP)

In 2016, Siaka Stevens, saw a map of power generation for Sierra Leone. He noticed that Sherbro Island was the only region that was not highlighted and he wanted to know why.

After conducting extensive research and visiting Sherbro Island, he recognised the island’s potential for transformation and the positive impact it would have on the local community and Sierra Leone as a whole.

Siaka who was born in Sierra Leone but has lived in the UK since he was 5 years old reached out to his long-time family friend, Idris Elba and proposed a collaboration on the project. Idris’ connection to Sierra Leone, came through his father, Winston Elba, a proud Sierra Leonean. On his father’s passing, Idris vowed to use his platform to make a genuine and long-term contribution to the welfare of the country, and to shift the narrative around West Africa to a positive and forward-looking vision for Africans.

Idris and Siaka came to understand, as they visited Sherbro Island and gained more knowledge about it, that the island’s isolation from development was largely due to the lack of connectivity to the mainland, which has hindered investment.

As a result, there is a notable absence of infrastructure, schooling, medical care, and local enterprise. They believe that with ingenuity and world-class expertise, Sherbro Island can be a model for economic development.

Quote from the founders of SAP

“Our commitment lies in supporting the growth of Sierra Leone by developing Sherbro Island, in partnership with the government of Sierra Leone. This project will benefit all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of their tribal or political affiliations.

As part of the African diaspora, our ultimate goal is to foster sustainable development that translates into real benefits for the people of Sierra Leone and the entire African continent.”

Idris Elba & Siaka Stevens

Idris Elba was appointed as Chief Kong Mbakie by Sherbro Island’s Paramount Chiefs, in recognition of his efforts to bring
prosperity to the island.

Mr. Elba has also worked with and supported international organisations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN IFAD), Conservation International (CI), Global Citizen, the British Film Institute (BFI), and the Prince’s Trust (PT), among others. Idris and his wife Sabrina were jointly awarded the 2023 Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum, Davos 2023, for their contribution to addressing food security, climate change and environmental conservation.

Siaka Stevens is a British Sierra Leonean entrepreneur and grandson of the late President of Sierra Leone, Siaka Probyn Stevens. He is the originator of the Sherbro Island City vision. Mr Stevens is an entrepreneur with an extensive background in hospitality, events, and inbound international investment into Sierra Leone.  He has worked on projects across Sierra Leone including supporting businesses, investing in the country as well as charitable work.