Businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome says he was the mastermind behind Ghana’s successful bid to host the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. Alfred Woyome: How I convinced Muammar Gadaffi to allow Ghana host CAN 2008. He said he managed to convince former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to allow Ghana host the tournament. Mr. Woyome said Libya were on course to win the hosting rights, until he spoke to Gaddafi to make his country step aside.
“In 2001, Honorable Osei Kwaku (late), called me and asked me what we could do for the youth. So I decided that we had to turn Ghana into a sports tourism center,” he said on Citi TV’s Face to Face on Tuesday. “In Austria, what I saw was that they had sports mixed with other tourism activities and it earned them $40 billion per annum. “So I said we had to do something like that. That was how it began, then in transcended to Rashid Bawa (then Education, Youth, and Sports Minister), and so on.
<“Then we needed to host the tournament. That brought the idea of CAN 2008. And believe you me, how did they win it in Egypt? Rashid Bawa, Rex Danquah is there, go and ask them. Libya was their contestant. I had to travel to Tripoli and tell Muammar Gaddafi, ‘leave us and let’s do it’ as part of the Pan-African movement and things like that, so we won the bid.”
The businessman said, even after securing the AFCON hosting rights, he went ahead to secure $1.4 billion from Bank Austria to help Ghana successfully host the tournament, due to the country’s HIPC status at the time.
“I had to travel to Washington to look for money. That’s why I was against the HIPC because HIPC country cannot fund a tournament hosting,” he disclosed.
The LOC itself, when they first formed it, I funded it because there was no money. I was later compensated for that through a court order.
“So I went to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank, to get them to support the Government of Ghana in terms of guarantee because we were HIPC.
“Then I had to go to the market in New York, trading here and there, and there I got Bank Austria to give Ghana almost $1.4 billion dollars, the biggest softest loan ever to any country south of the Sahara. And that was how we could host the tournament,” Mr. Woyome added.