The ambassador also highlighted the transformative potential of sports for human and social development.
Al-Ahram: Ghana is hosting the 13th Edition of the African Games. Could you elaborate on the preparations made for this event?
Obed Boamah Akwa: I am honored to speak with Al-Ahram and share insights about the 13th Edition of the African Games, hosted under the African Union's auspices in Accra, Ghana.
The games aim to celebrate African unity, diversity, and progress, coinciding with the 60th Anniversary of the continental body's formation.
Ghana's government is establishing world-class facilities at Borteyman and the University of Ghana in Accra. A Technical Committee for the African Games and a local organizing committee have been set up to oversee preparations. Distinguished personalities involved include HE Mousa Faki Mahamat and HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
A: Could you share details about the event's budget and its funding sources?
OBD: The games' budget is approximately $240 million, covering sports infrastructure development, and operational costs, and is solely provided by the government of Ghana.
A: How many participants are expected at the event? Is the necessary infrastructure ready to accommodate them? How might this impact tourism?
OBD: We anticipate around 5,000 athletes and officials. All facilities are set to be completed and handed over by December 2023. The event includes a variety of sports, both Olympic qualifiers and non-Olympic qualifiers, as well as demonstration sports.
Ghana's tourism industry is expected to receive a significant boost during the event, showcasing attractions such as forts and castles, botanical gardens, museums, cultural festivals, and our rich cuisine.
A: The African Games coincide with Ghana's Independence Day. Is this intentional? What is the significance of this timing?
OBD: The African Games were deliberately timed to align with Ghana's Independence Day on 6 March. This allows participants from across Africa to experience Ghana's celebration of independence. This alignment is symbolic of unity, echoing the vision of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, who emphasized the importance of collective liberation for all African nations.
A: Egypt and Ghana share historical ties. How do you view this relationship? What is the current economic exchange between the two countries?
OBD: Egypt and Ghana maintain strong bilateral relations dating back to historical kingdoms' trade. Notably, the presidencies of Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah contributed to this bond. Cooperation exists in diverse sectors like tourism, agriculture, defence, trade, and industry. In 2022, Egypt exported over $200 million worth of goods to Ghana, while Ghana's exports to Egypt encompass cocoa products, gold, timber, and textiles.
A: What opportunities are available for Egyptian businessmen in Ghana, and how is the government supporting them?
OBD: The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre aims to foster growth through collaboration. Ghana offers a conducive business environment, governmental-private sector partnership, and opportunities in various sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas, mining, tourism, energy, finance, and ICT. Egypt's businessmen have the chance to engage and prosper in Ghana's favourable economic landscape.
A: In conclusion, could you share your final thoughts on the impact of the African Games and its alignment with Ghana's vision?
OBD: The transformative power of sports serves as a catalyst for human and social development. The 13th African Games aim to promote friendship, political cooperation, and economic growth. We urge a collaborative effort to ensure the event's success, an integral part of the AU Agenda 2063 – "The African We Want." Through unity and collaboration, we can fulfill Kwame Nkrumah's vision of a united Africa.