Ivory Coast inaugurated Saturday its new 60,000-seat Olympic stadium, built with the help of China, in Ebimpe, on the outskirts of Abidjan, in preparation for the African Cup of Nations soccer in 2023.
The ceremony, with a great show of dance and music, took place in the presence of 50,000 people, according to the organizers - including Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who is seeking a controversial third term in the October 31 presidential election.
The president said he was "proud and happy of this Sino-Ivorian cooperation" for "this architectural jewel".
The Ebimpe stadium will be the largest in Ivory Coast, replacing the Houphouët-Boigny stadium located in the center of Abidjan.
It will host the opening match and the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The stadium and ancillary facilities (swimming pool and Olympic city, hotel ...) cost 218 million euros, according to Ivorian authorities, with counterpart funding from China, which has a strong economic presence in the West African country.
The work was carried out in nearly four years by Beijing Construction Engineering Group, a Chinese firm.
The construction of the facility also aims to develop the Anyama area, on the northern outskirts of the Ivorian economic capital, where the first metro line is due to be built.
The transitional government of Sudan and 13 rebel factions have signed a final peace agreement in South Sudan capital, Juba.
The agreement, which was brokered by South Sudan President Salva Kiir following continued unrest in Khartoum since the ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, was witnessed by Mr Kiir, South Sudan Vice President Dr Riek Machar, Somalia's Ismail Guelleh, Chad's Idriss Deby, Sudan President Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, Sudan Prime minister and chairperson of Igad, Dr Abdallah Hamdok, and Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, among other dignitaries.
The signing of the agreement happened in a small tent erected below the podium that hosted the dignitaries.
The South Sudan Minister for Investments, who is also the secretary for Mediation Council, Dr Dhieu Mathok, told Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the event that the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) asked Mr Kiir to mediate in the matter.
"Igad requested us to mediate. We are best placed because we share roots. We have come together a long way and we know who is who," he said today.
He added that the United Nations Mission in Dafur and the African Union leaders had been very pivotal in the talks.
The morning to noon downpour at the John Garang Mausoleum and Freedom Hall could not dampen the mood of thousands of South Sudanese and Sudanese - once foe now turned friends - who were seen singing and dancing in unity on the wet tarmac.
The transitional government, which came to power after the April 2019 ouster of al-Bashir following months of mass protests, said they had now prioritised a peace accord with rebel groups.
Negotiations centred on issues of security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes because of fighting. It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army.
Bashir, who had ruled the North African country for 30 years years, was brought down following months-long protests over rising cost of living and alleged human rights abuses.
He was subsequently incarcerated, tried and convicted on multiple corruption charges.
Source: Daily Monitor