Abidjan (AFP) - China flexed its economic muscle again on Thursday when it was announced it would finance the construction of a 60,000-seat stadium in Abidjan in time for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
"A gift from China, the Olympic stadium of Ebimpe with 60,000 seats will allow the hosting of high-level football, athletics and rugby tournaments," a spokesman said before a sports ministry meeting in the Ivory Coast capital.
The project will also see the construction of a sports city around the stadium in the suburb of Anyama, in the north of the capital.
The work, which will take around two years, will start in January 2016.
"The stadium is a gift from China; the Ivory Coast has just the space to put at its disposal," the spokesman told AFP.
Abidjan currently has just one ground of international standard in the 35,000 capacity Houphouet-Boigny stadium built before independence in 1960.
China is a formidable presence in the African state where it is currently building the biggest hydro-electric project in the country.
It is also constructing a highway to link Abidjan and the Ghana border.