- KOICA establishes multi-purpose Ivoirian-Korean Sports, Culture, and ICT Center
- Opening of the center to contribute towards enhancing the social integration of local youth's and to enhance cultural activities
On the 28th (local time) in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire a ceremony was held for the opening of the Ivoirian-Korean Sports, Culture, and ICT Center (hereinafter as the "Ivoirian-Korean Center"). In attendance were about 200 people including the President of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Dramane Ouattara, the Korean ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire Lee Sang-yeol and the KOICA Vice President for Region Project II Song Woong-Yeob.
In 1999 a coup was staged in Côte d'Ivoire, and Civil War raged on two separate occasions from 2002 to 2007 and again from 2010 to 2011. The country experienced political and social conflict over the past 15 years and the economic system experienced collapse. This caused more than 500,000 children to become refugees. With more than 700,000 children in circumstances where it is difficult to learn, many youths experienced mental and physical problems. Further, this became a cause for the severe impediment toward social adjustment and integration.
The Côte d'Ivoire government asked KOICA to construct the Ivoirian-Korean Sports, Culture, and ICT Center to relieve the mental and physical suffering experienced by the younger generation that experienced civil war, to ease the conflict and assist with social and economic stability.
Hence, for five years from 2015 to 2020, KOICA provided 9.5 million dollars to build the "Ivoirian-Korean Center" on a 8,824㎡ plot, that includes a multipurpose stadium that can accommodate 1,200 people at once, and has a three-story culture center.
* Ivoirian-Korean Center: ▲ The multipurpose stadium (2,252㎡) has facilities where international matches and games can be held for various international athletic competitions such as Taekwondo, basketball, volleyball, and handball ▲ The culture center (1,146㎡) includes an ICT multi-media room, library, multipurpose room, Korean cooking room, and music room and was built with facilities for various cultural activities
Through the Ivoirian-Korean Center, KOICA is planning to operate a culture platform for physical education, culture, ICT facilities and various youth activities. KOICA also expects the center will promote active culture and social exchanges between the two countries and over the long-term will play a role as a cultural venue that can assist with social cohesion and ease conflict within Côte d'Ivoire.
Taekwondo is quite popular in Côte d'Ivoire. Following this popularity, there are plans for the center to play a pivotal role in the delivery and spread of Taekwondo throughout Côte d'Ivoire. The center is expected to enhance the image of Korea and be positioned as a prominent building that represents the friendly relationship between Côte d'Ivoire and Korea just in time for the 60th anniversary of the normalizing of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
* Popularity of Taekwondo in Côte d'Ivoire: In 2016 at the Rio Olympics in Brazil, Cheick Sallah Cissé reached the highest level by winning the first gold medal in Taekwondo for Côte d'Ivoire in the 80 kg category. The economic capital of Abidjan alone has some 300 clubs and produced about 30,000 Taekwondo athletes.
At the opening ceremony, there was a signboard hanging ceremony, and an opening ceremony for the ICT Center for educational activities for Côte d'Ivoire youths.
At the congratulatory address at the signing ceremony, KOICA Vice President Song Woong-yeob said, "I offer my congratulations for the opening of the Ivoirian-Korean Center, which symbolizes the long-cherished friendship between Korea and Côte d'Ivoire. I truly hope the center can contribute to the building of a sustainable and healthy community in Côte d'Ivoire."
President Alassane Dramane Ouattara said, "Korea and Côte d'Ivoire have been actively interacting in the fields of culture, economy and sports for the past 60 years. Ivorian-Korean center which opened with the support of the Korean government will develop into the best sports, culture, and ICT center in Côte d'Ivoire. I hope many young people will develop their hopes and dreams here in the future.”
About KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency)
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established as a government agency in 1991, is dedicated to providing grant aid programs of the Government of the Republic of Korea. KOICA endeavors to combat poverty and support the sustainable socio-economic growth of partner countries. For more information, visit http://koica.go.kr