Parliament has approved GH¢195,795,973 as the budget of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for 2024, part of which will be channelled into the organisation of the 13th African Games in the country between March 8 and 23, 2024.
In moving the motion for the approval of the budget yesterday, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, said the country was providing the biggest aqua centre in Africa with a 10-lane competition pool and an eight-lane warm-up pool.
Currently under construction for the continental competition is a 1,000-seat multi-purpose hall for indoor games as well as five tennis courts with a 1,000-seat capacity.
The minister said the University of Ghana Stadium, which was started in 2007, had been reconfigured and was at the final stage of completion to host some of the events, including athletics.
The minister announced that six out of 10 stadiums being constructed to serve as youth centres were ready, with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo scheduled to inaugurate the Koforidua Stadium on December 28, 2023.
He said the National Sports Authority (NSA) had also rolled out a national volunteer programme for the youth in various communities as well as a STEM programme for almost 657 people in training in cosmetology, fashion design and ICT to empower them at the grassroots in digital literacy.
“With this massive work that we are doing, we can only ask this honourable House to support us by approving this budget so that we can finish our preparations for hosting the entire continent here.
“We are expecting over 5,000 athletes, 3,000 officials, 2,000 volunteers and an expected one billion online and global viewers,” he said.
The African Games will involve 30 sporting disciplines, eight of which are Olympic qualifying events and others as demonstration sports to help boost the local economy.
The minister said as part of the legacy, Accra was being positioned as a sports hub during the African Games and beyond.
“We are also talking to the Africa Union to declare Accra as the 2024 Africa Sports City where we will engage various federations to organise more sporting events beyond the games,” Mr Ussif said.