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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid