African Union wants to create real-life Wakanda in Zimbabwe and Zambia

An ambitious project will attempt to entice Africans to 'come home' and lend their skills to African development.

The African Union has announced an ambitious project, called Wakanda One, which will attempt to entice those living in the “African diaspora” to come home and contribute their skills to African development.

The project takes its name from the technologically advanced, fictitious African country from Marvel’s Black Panther superhero franchise, which spawned a hugely successful film last year.

According to Zimbabwe’s The Herald, Zimbabwe has pledged 2,000 hectares to the project while Zambia has offered 132 hectares.

African Union ambassador to the United States, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao at an Intra African Trade Fair in Cairo, Egypt, confirmed: “I met His Excellency President Mnangagwa recently and he offered us 2,000 hectares for the regional Wakanda One in Victoria Falls.

“The offer also comes in when the Zambian government has also offered some land across the river in Livingstone. So we are looking at building the village straggling the border between the countries.”

READ MORE: Petrol prices in Zimbabwe more than double

According to The Herald, the Wakanda One project is in line with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision for a new Zimbabwe.

He reportedly wants to turn Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-class economy by 2030, driven by tourism, agriculture, and mining.

Mnangagwa, who in November officially took over from Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for 37 years, certainly has his work cut out for him, as the country is currently facing a severe economic crisis.

The Citizen reported on Saturday that Mnangagwa announced a massive fuel hike that saw prices more than double, from R19 a litre to R45 a litre.

READ MORE: Lives at risk in Zimbabwe as economic crisis leads to soaring drug prices

Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy and veteran of the ruling ZANU-PF party, has faced a new wave of turmoil since last year, as prices rocket and shortages spread, from bread to fuel.

In October, before he was inaugurated, Zimbabwe’s new president urged citizens to stay calm as drivers queued for hours for rationed petrol and those with money stockpiled any food for sale.

The shortages have reportedly created a thriving black market.

Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis has also had a devastating effect on access to medicine, with prices pushed up beyond what many can afford.

(Additional reporting by AFP)

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