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FRANCOPHONIE GAMES LIMBO: Canada Pulls Out; Kinshasa

Approximately one month before the start of the Francophonie games in Kinshasa, some media reports say DR Congo is not yet ready to host the much-coveted competition pitting mainly French-speaking nations.

And Canada will not send any athletes or artists to the 2023 Games of La Francophonie in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), scheduled for 28 July to 6 August.

The director of the national committee of the Francophone Games refuted the claims of chaos and confirmed the event should be able to go ahead as planned.

“In terms of infrastructure, I can assure you that as things stand today, we are in a position to organize the Games on 28 July, and all the infrastructure will be ready for this activity. Initially, for these works, it was 149 million dollars, but for the construction of all the infrastructure that will remain for our country, this is what is currently being done. The time for speculation is over, one thing is certain today: the Francophone Games will indeed be held in Kinshasa. This statement, I know, raises a few questions in some minds,” said Isidore Kwandja, the director of the national committee of the Francophone Games.

The 9th Francophone Games are scheduled to take place from 28 July to 6 August in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more than 3,000 young athletes and artists from some forty countries are expected to take part in the event, which mixes sporting and cultural competition.

“All the countries have reconfirmed their participation in the 9th Francophone Games. We have read that Quebec will not be sending athletes, but will be sending a diplomatic delegation, which is their choice. I also note that New Brunswick, which is part of Canada, has confirmed that it will be sending its athletes to Kinshasa,” said Isidore Kwandja, the director of the national committee of the Francophone Games

With less than 30 days before the start of the games, Kinshasa is now racing against time to ready all the infrastructure needed for the competition.

The government has also assured of the security which has been the concern of major stakeholders. DRC intends to deploy at least 4500 security personnel during the competition.

Meanwhile, Canada Ministry of International Relations has announced that health and safety concerns have prompted her country to withdrawal participation.

“This is not an easy decision to make, but it is a considered and responsible one,” said ministry spokeswoman Sylvie Leclerc.

Additional Reporting: Africa News
Photo: Getty Images

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