THE AFRICAN UNION IS BUILDING A REAL-LIFE WAKANDA
The African Union has announced a monumental, multi-billion dollar initiative: to create a real-life Wakanda. Zimbabwe and Zambia have offered 2,000 and 132 hectares of land respectively around the Victoria Falls area to the AU for the first South African Development Community (SADC) project, which will be called Wakanda One.
‘Wakanda One’ takes its name from the fictitious and technologically advanced African country from Marvel’s Black Panther movie, which became the 9th highest grossing film of all time.
The ‘Village’ will contain 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 project is targeted at those living in the “African diaspora” (African people living outside the continent) with the aim that they return home and contribute their skills to African development. African Union Ambassador to the United States Dr. Arikana 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!”
Speaking of her meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe she confirmed that he had offered them the land for the regional Wakanda one in Victoria Falls, and that the offer had come in just as the Zambian government had also offered some land across the river in Livingstone. They are looking to build the village ‘straddling the border between the countries”.
Apparently the project fits well with President Mnangagwa’s vision for the future of Zimbabwe. Through increased efforts in tourism, agriculture and mining, he is looking to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-class economy by 2030.
Dr. Chihombori-Quao announced the project in March 2018 when she launched the African Diaspora Global Bank which is expected to raise $5 billion to fund the project. The plan is to form an investment board from all the African regions headquartered in Washington DC to manage the fund, with a view to raising at least US $2 billion in the next two years. The AU will also encourage the 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 (a non-profit-making money cooperative whose members can borrow from pooled deposits at low interest rates)’.
The Wakanda One Village Project will span the continent. Dr. Chihombori-Quao has also reported that Kenya and Tanzania have also committed to giving land for East Africa’s Wakanda One Village project. The vision is to create five African Centres of Excellence in each of the five regions of the continent which will be hubs for development, providing quality healthcare facilities, hotels, industrial homes, and shopping centres, among other things. This will provide opportunities for those nearby to experience the facilities and work towards transforming external and internal perceptions of the continent.