News / Africa

Cash Problems Close Olympics ‘Africa Village’

The Africa Village is pictured in central London. Africa Village, the continent's shop window in London during the 2012 Games and its first joint hospitality venue at an Olympics, was closed due to unpaid debts, organizers said, August 8, 2012.
The Africa Village is pictured in central London. Africa Village, the continent's shop window in London during the 2012 Games and its first joint hospitality venue at an Olympics, was closed due to unpaid debts, organizers said, August 8, 2012.
Henry Ridgwell
LONDON Africa Village, the hospitality area set up by African nations competing at the London 2012 Olympics, has been forced to close because its French organizers allegedly have not been paying their bills. Competing nations including Ethiopia and Tunisia say the early closure will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Africa Village

Twenty competing African nations at the London 2012 Olympics had collaborated for the first time to create Africa Village at Kensington Gardens in central London.

With concerts, fashion, dancing, gastronomy and photo exhibitions, visitors to the village were invited to discover the "cultural, sporting and artistic richness of Africa."

Its total cost was estimated at $3.75 million, but it appears some of that money has not reached the village's suppliers.

Closing

With two days to go to the closing ceremony, the site has closed. The gates are padlocked, and plans are already under way to dismantle the site.

Jean-Claude Ablet is a consultant with Pixcom, the French company that organized Africa Village

“According to the local suppliers, there are some bills to be paid. But according to the organizers, that’s not true. Because at the time when the contract was made, the local suppliers said that they would not be able to provide all the services required. Therefore the organizer was forced to find another supplier or service provider in France,” he stated.

Pixcom's chief executive says the legal action that forced the village to close was an "excessive" reaction by its creditors, and also was "disrespectful" to the African nations.

The Concerto Group, a British firm, supplied catering and bar services to Africa Village. Its chief executive, Mark Greaves, says Pixcom owes his firm thousands of dollars.

“We’ve had countless discussions with Pixcom. I understand that many of the exhibitors [at the village] had paid money over to Pixcom, and that money wasn’t being paid over to the U.K. suppliers in accordance with the agreements that all those U.K. suppliers had with Pixcom," Greaves explained. "As a result of that I think various companies have taken legal action, of which we are not one.”

Missed opportunities

Since opening on the Games' first day, Africa Village had received over 80,000 visitors - among them athletes, dignitaries and famous faces.

Tunisia was due to hold a celebration there Friday with a series of live music concerts.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture says a troupe of dancers from Addis Ababa has already been flown over to perform at the country's special day on Saturday.

The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa expressed its regret and called the closure “an arbitrary action beyond its control.”

“From my understanding, the ANOCA, which is the African Association of National Olympic Committees, said that they will take the matter further, thinking that the closure of the Africa Village has been unfair, so therefore they will seek reparations through legal procedures,”  said Ablet.

Africa Village was also seen as a platform to promote a potential African bid to host a future Olympics. Three cities on the continent are being touted as possible bidders for the 2024 summer games - Casablanca in Morocco, Durban in South Africa and Alexandria in Egypt.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs