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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid