China’s latest gift to Ivory Coast is a 60,000-seat stadium

April 27, 2015

When China’s Premier Li Keqiang toured Africa last year he pledged an additional $12 billion in credit and funding. The Chinese credit train is now in Ivory Coast, where China will finance the construction of a 60,000-seat stadium, which will be completed before 2021 when the West African country hosts the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Details of the financial structure of the stadium are not known, but the spokesman of the Ivorian sports ministry called the stadium “a gift from China,” adding that “Ivory Coast has just the space to put at its disposal.”

“The Olympic stadium of Ebimpe with 60,000 seats will allow the hosting of high-level football, athletics and rugby tournaments,” he told AFP.

The new stadium will be located in Abidjan. At the moment, the city can only boast of one stadium of international standard, the Houphouet-Boigny stadium opened in 1952. Work at the new stadium begins in January 2016 and will be completed in 2018. As part of the project, a sports city will also be constructed around the stadium in the suburb of Anyama. China is also currently building the biggest hydro-electric project in Ivory Coast, as well as a highway to connect capital Abidjan to the Ghana border.

China’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) flows to Africa increased from $317 million in 2004 to $2.52 billion in 2012. The country had in 2009 surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner. Although there have been several criticisms about China’s investment focus on the African continent, the country has continued to seal government-related deals and remains Africa’s biggest infrastructure investor.

Source: Ventures Africa

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