President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced the construction of a 50,000-seating capacity Olympic Stadium Complex for the 13th African Games in Ghana in 2023.
He said land had been secured to construct the necessary facilities for the games while the procurement process to engage a contractor was ongoing.
The 55-year-old African Games, formerly christened All African Games, is a continental multi-sport event which brings together all African countries for healthy sporting rivalry with the aim of fostering unity among the countries on the continent.
The President said after the games, “it is the vision of government for the purpose of sustainability to convert the Olympic sports facilities to be used for the 13th African Games into a University of Sports for Development”.
President Akufo-Addo made the announcement at the Jubilee House in Accra last Monday when he swore in a nine-member Local Organising Committee (LOC) to steer Ghana’s preparations towards a successful hosting of the games.
Members of the Local Organising Committee for the 13th All Africa Games being sworn in at the Jubilee House
The committee is chaired by an experienced sports broadcaster, Dr. Kwaku Ofosu-Asare.
The other members of the committee are the Technical Advisor on Sports at the Ministry of Sports, Dr. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah; a former Olympian and sports events organiser, Mr. Reks Brobby; a clinical psychologist and lecturer, Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Dwumfour Williams; a sports journalist, Mr. Dan Kwaku Yeboah; Communication Consultant to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Ahmed Osumanu; President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah; a sports journalist and lawyer, Ms. Eva Okyere, and a sports administrator, Ms. Joyce Datsa.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the government was determined to organise the best ever African Games and to establish the first ever University of Sport for Development in West Africa and the second such university in Africa.
He said it was for that reason that it had assembled an LOC which comprised personalities who possessed the capacity to successfully organise the games, develop a curriculum and recruit the necessary manpower required for the successful take-off of the university in 2024.
The President said the African Games, like other continental and global games and events, required sports facilities that could accommodate at least 25 Olympic sporting disciplines.
He added that the most important facility was a multipurpose stadium complex for football and athletics, which would also serve as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as meetings, conferences, workshops and receptions.
President Akufo-Addo noted that currently none of the sporting facilities in Ghana could meet the required international standards, hence the need to construct appropriate sports facilities in the country that would be able to host the 25 sporting disciplines in Ghana in 2023.
He stated that the 50,000-capacity Olympic Stadium Complex would have a multipurpose facility for all indoor sports, aquatic centres for swimming, tennis courts, an administration block, hostel facilities, bungalows for senior officials, lecture and research facilities, and equipment.
President Akufo-Addo said it was unfortunate that Ghana had never hosted the 55-year-old games, especially given the nation’s lead role in the emancipation of Africa and its pioneering role in the movement towards continental unity, stressing that “this was not right and had to be remedied”.
He said that was the reason why he, in May 2018, directed the Minister of Sports, Mr. Isaac Asiamah, to prepare Ghana's bid for the right to host and organise the 2023 African Games — which was successfully secured.
Mr. Asiamah commended the President for his support in attaining the feat, and said the committee members had pledged their willingness and eagerness to deliver the best ever event in 2023.
He said the establishment of the LOC was a requirement by the African Union Commission, the custodian of the African Games, to ensure the smooth organisation and coordination of all aspects of the games.
The Chairman of the LOC, Dr. Ofosu-Asare, thanked the President for the trust he had reposed in the members to superintend the organisation and hosting of the games in August 2023.
He said although Ghana was a giant in sports in Africa, 2023 would be the first time the country was going to host the games since Congo Brazzaville hosted the first event in 1965.