On Tuesday, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) held a press conference in Accra to announce the postponement of the 2023 African Games to 2024. The rescheduled event has not been given specific dates yet, but the games were originally scheduled to occur from August 4 to August 19, 2023. The games were previously threatened by African sporting confederations due to disagreements with the African Union regarding the marketing rights of the games, which were resolved after a new protocol agreement was signed on the sidelines of the AU Heads of States Summit in Addis Ababa last week.

The preparations for the event have faced challenges in Ghana, with construction works at the Borteyman Sports Complex, which was planned to host swimming, boxing, and indoor sporting events, significantly behind schedule. Additionally, organizers have been struggling to finish the University of Ghana Stadium on time. The games village has also experienced difficulties due to the University of Ghana academic calendar, as the constant presence of students at the Diaspora Halls has slowed down refurbishment works.

The African Union (AU), Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC) met at the AU headquarters on February 19 in Addis Ababa to resolve an impasse that had disrupted preparations for the multi-sport African Games, previously scheduled for August 4 to 19. The meeting, which was organized by Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, resulted in a negotiated agreement signed by representatives of the AU, ANOCA, and the AASC, which allowed the preparations for the Games to continue.

Dr. Kweku Ofosu Asare

Prior to the meeting, Dr. Kweku Ofosu Asare, the deputy chief operating officer of the Organizing Committee, stated that the Ghanaian government was committed to ensuring a hitch-free African Games and that the country could not be blamed for the delay in completing the facilities. Ofosu Asare noted that the Games had faced significant challenges due to misunderstandings, but he was confident that the agreement would enable the organizers to proceed with the planning and implementation.

The preparations for the Games have been hampered by Ghana’s ongoing economic crisis, which former Ghana President John Mahama has cited in his call for the cancellation of the event. However, Ofosu Asare has argued that not hosting the Games would cost Ghana just as much as staging them. In January, inflation in Ghana dropped for the first time in almost two years, reaching 53.6%.

In December 2022, Ghanaian-based construction company Consar was told by Parliament to complete the facilities planned for the Games. This included finishing the modernization of the University of Ghana Stadium, which was the centerpiece of the Games and originally due to be handed over by the end of 2022. The venue, also known as the Legon Stadium, was completed in February, as hoped.

The Borteyman Sports Complex

Plans to build a new stadium for the event were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds were also released to complete the construction of the Borteyman Sports Complex, which was expected to host up to 11 sports during the African Games, which ended on August 19, 2023. Among the sports the Complex was set to stage were aquatics, football, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, and tennis.