A view of National Stadium of Cote d’Ivoire. Photo: Courtesy of CCECC
The National Stadium of Cote d’Ivoire, a venue that will host the 34th Africa Cup of Nations scheduled in 2024 which was constructed with the help of a Chinese company, was officially launched on Friday, marking the implementation of another flagship project in Africa under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
With a capacity of more than 60,000 seats, the stadium has a total construction area of 24,000 square meters, and is considered one of the biggest and most modern stadiums in Africa. The project has a number of accompanying facilities such as training ground and athletes’ village, which will provide a series of services for athletes, according to a statement sent by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to the Global Times over the weekend.
An official from Cote d’Ivoire expressed gratitude for the contribution of the Chinese company at an opening ceremony held on Friday, noting the stadium not only serves as a modern one that has the capacity to hold large scale international competition, but also epitomizes the rich soccer culture of Ivory Coast and the country’s unique sportsmanship.
“The stadium marks another landmark infrastructure cooperation project between China and Cote d’Ivoire under BRI,” Chen Sichang, general manager of CCECC, was quoted as saying in the statement. Chen said that during the construction process, the project has created nearly 1,000 local jobs, and has effectively helped regional economy and people’s livelihoods.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Cote d’Ivoire. And it is also the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed BRI, under which economic cooperation between China and Africa has achieved notable results.
To date, at least 52 African countries and the African Union Commission have signed BRI cooperation agreements with China.
China has maintained its position as Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years. China’s direct investments in the continent have remained steady over the past decade, with over 1,100 cooperative projects currently underway, fueling the region’s economic growth and development , according to local media reports.