It might have been a wish in the early months of 2018 when the highest-grossing superhero film of all time “Black Panther” depicted a rich and technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda that was the envy of the rest of the world.
It is nearly a wish come true as the African Union is close to starting the construction of a real Wakanda which will be built, run and operated across the continent by the African diaspora.
Dubbed the Wakanda One Village Project, it will consist of five African Centres of Excellence in each of the five regions of the continent which will serve as nerve centers for development bearing state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hotels, industrial homes, shopping centres among others.
This was announced by the African Union Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, in March 2018 when she launched the African Diaspora Global Bank which is expected to raise $5 billion that will fund the project.
Zimbabwe and Zambia have offered 2,000 and 132 hectares of land respectively around the Victoria Falls area which borders the two countries. Zambia made its offer in March and Zimbabwe’s offer was confirmed by Ambassador Chihombori-Quao at the recently held Intra African Trade Fair in Cairo, Egypt.
“I met His Excellency President Mnangagwa recently and he offered us 2000 hectares for the regional Wakanda One Village in Victoria Falls. The offer comes after the Zambian Government has also offered some land across the river in Livingstone. We are looking at building the village transcending the borders of the two countries,” she told Zimbabwean journalist Sydney Kawadza in an interview.
The Wakanda One Village in Zimbabwe and Zambia will serve as the first of the project in the Southern African region and will comprise a 100-bed teaching hospital, a university and technical college, primary and secondary schools, day-care centres, three five-star hotels, game lodge, pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, agricultural farms and parks.
The infrastructure will also include a shopping centre, commercial office buildings, renewable power plants, a monorail around the complex and roads ready to support self-driving electric cars, reports Sydney Kawadza.
The project targets Africans in the diaspora who want to help build the continent to the level they want it to be, Ambassador Chihombori-Quao said earlier this year.
“You know, when you talk about a ‘good Africa’ or returning home, many people say ‘Well, [Africa] is not what I’m used to,’ and to that I always tell them, ‘Then build the home you want,” she said at the launch of the African Diaspora Global Bank.
“We don’t even realize we are on autopilot waiting for the White man to build this ‘civilization’ for us. So we are taking our destiny into our own hands and creating something built for and by the people of the African diaspora,” she added.
The African Union said it will first sensitize the Diaspora before forming an investment board from all the regions of Africa headquartered in Washington DC to manage the fund and decide on the value of shares and conversion factors.
“The establishment of an Investment Board should lead to the opening up of the African Diaspora Savings and Investment Accounts in the four banks. We will also encourage African Diaspora to open individual accounts with a minimum deposit of US$10 a month while the board will decide on the transition to a credit union,” Sydney Kawadza quotes Dr Chihombori-Quao.
“We are looking at raising at least US$2 billion in the next two years with the first groundbreaking set for the end of the year 2020 … We are going to build the Africa that we want so those Diasporans who say I cannot go home because home is not what I am used to will make it what they want,” she added.
Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao also revealed that Kenya and Tanzania have also pledged land for East Africa’s Wakanda One Village project.
This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com