Across Africa, the growing presence of Chinese investments in economy and infrastructure is evident. In the last ten years, various state-owned firms, even a number of private companies, have become major investors in Africa with China being the single largest bilateral source of annual foreign investment in Africa. Indeed Chinese investment permeates almost every sector of Africa’s economy. As of mid-2012, China’s Ministry of Commerce estimated that cumulated foreign direct investment in Africa had exceeded $14.7 billion. In sports, China’s investment in Africa, popularly termed ‘Stadium Diplomacy’, has been focused on infrastructural development which has and will, inevitably in the future, result in a marked improvement in certain sports.
Ventures Africa takes us through some of China’s biggest investments, via stadium construction, in African sports. In some cases, China bore the entire cost of the construction, some involved concessionary loans while others were made possible by way of strategic partnerships, details of which have not been made public.
Cameroon Yaounde Multi-functional Stadium
The stadium, which was inaugurated in 2009 by President Paul Biya, is regarded as a symbol of China’s friendship with Cameroon. The stadium has a seating capacity of more than 5,000 people and is located in downtown Yaounde.
Mozambique National Stadium
The Mozambique National Stadium is located in Maputo and has the ability to seat about 42,000 spectators. The stadium was built at an estimated cost of 500 million Yuan ($80 million) and is built to Olympic standards. It is widely acclaimed as the largest sports facility constructed since Mozambique’s independence from Portugal in 1975.
Tanzania National Stadium
Completed in 2008, the Tanzania National Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium and was built to both FIFA and Olympic standards. With a seating capacity of 60,000, the state of the art stadium was constructed with the aid of a $33.4 million contribution from China.
Malawi National Stadium
The Malawi National Stadium is currently under construction and will be located in Lilongwe. At a cost of $70 million, with the help of the Chinese government via a concessional loan to be repaid in 20 years, the stadium will seat about 40,000 spectators and is expected to be open in 2014.
Cape Coast Stadium, Ghana
In November, Ghanian government announced an agreement between the nation and China to embark on infrastructural development projects. One of those projects was the construction of the Cape Coast Stadium. The Cape Coast Stadium will be constructed by China as a gift to Ghana – for free – in memory of the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
2010 AFCON Stadia, Angola.
In the build-up to the 2010 African Cup of Nations, China reached an agreement with Angola to assist with the construction of four stadia at an estimated cost of $600 million. The stadiums included Estadio Da Tundavala, Estádio Cidade Universitária, Benguela and Complexo da Sr. da Graca.
Ndola National Stadium, Zambia
The Ndola National Stadium, home to the Zambian national team is one of the newest stadiums constructed by China in Africa. The brand new stadium seats 40,000 spectators and its construction costs were pegged at an impressive $65 million.
AFCON Stadia, Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, co-hosts of the African Cup of Nations in 2012, with assistance from China built two stadia. Estadia de Bata, with a capacity of 35, 700, is the biggest in the country and hosted the African Women’s Championships in 2008 and 2012 while Estadio de Malabo, despite having a capacity of only 15,000, is the national stadium of Equatorial Guinea. The stadium hosted two group games in the 2012 African Cup of Nations.
Stade de l’Amitié Sino-Gabonaise, Gabon
The venue of the dramatic final of the African Cup of Nations was a gift from China to Gabon. The impressive edifice, regarded a friendship between the two nations, was designed and built by Shanghai Construction at a cost $60 million.