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Debt closes Africa Village early

CLOSED: Africa Village

A VILLAGE centre for Africans to celebrate the Olympics has been closed due to debt.

Africa Village, based in Kensington Gardens west London, was designed to host 53 African national Olympic Committees in one specially dedicated house.

However, it was forced to close its doors early because it allegedly owes suppliers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

A statement on the village's website read: "Africa Village temporarily closed until further notice. Sorry."

Laurent Bagnis, Africa Village's communications director, confirmed the closure and told The BBC it was due to debt.

It has been reported that much as £395,000 could be owed.

The centre has received 80,000 visitors since it opened on 28 July, Bagnis said.

The village was meant to run until August 12.

Since opening, it has hosted regular music concerts and African medallists were also visiting to share their triumphs with fans, organisers claimed.

The aim of the centre was to welcome African sports leaders, the athletes and their sponsors.

It also aimed to help a wider audience discover the cultural and artistic diversity of the African continent through an exhibition area and a restaurant.

However, the idea received mixed reviews from the public.

Lekan Olujinmi, director of UK-based event management company, The Klub, told The Voice: “It was a wrong idea from the set go.”

He said it was a bad idea because individual African countries, ranging from Nigeria to Kenya, have already set up their own hubs.

Olujinmi asked: “So why have an Africa Village?".

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