Libya: Kolges, normality also with youth sport centres

Company eyes stadium in Tripoli, not only soccer but culture

21 January, 14:38

(ANSAmed) - Rome, January 21 - A stadium in Tripoli for the 2017 Africa Cup as well as a sporting facility which can also be used for social and cultural events aimed at Libya's youths is the project sponsored by the Libyan government after two years of war and instability which sees the participation of Italy's Kolges (Organizzazione Generale Esportazione).

The company, based in Bergamo, is in contact with Libyan authorities for this project and for the realization of another two structures close by. Maurizio Lustro, the company's sole managing director told ANSAmed he is convinced the country could soon go back to normal. His company started operating in the country with his father in 1971 while he has been working with Libya since 1984.

Normality, he said, can be fostered through sports and youth policies on which authorities in the new Libya are investing, in a project responding 'to the social demand of those 4.5 million youths' out of 6.5 million Libyans who 'have not had a cinema or theatre yet' for cultural events except those under the Gaddafi era.

'In March 2012 we were already in contact with the National transitional council for sports centers', recalled Lustro. The facility planned in Tripoli 'will not only have a stadium with 25,000 places, but a cultural centre, a room for conventions and pavilions on the beachfront' for various activities.

The project was 'strongly sponsored' by Libyans, said Lustro.

He also presented another proposal, called Domino which includes multi-functional plans which can be adapted to different areas: one model could suit the Gulf of Sirte, to develop it as a sailing resort. The entrepreneur said Libyan authorities are interested in the plans.

'This country is worthy of attention, has many resources, is used to Italian culture and products, has an historic relation with our companies and is only an hour and a half away by plane', said Lustro who did not appear concerned by lack of security in many of the country's areas. 'I have been visiting Tripoli regularly for the past six months and had the impression that people are calm and don't want any more fighting', he said.

The case of Benghazi and Cyrenaica - where Kolges provided logistic infrastructures to military authorities and is drafting a new contract to transport water, drainage services and street cleaning similar to a project ongoing in Tripoli which includes the provision of 30 Fiat-Iveco vehicles - are different.

'We will continue in Benghazi anyway but asked the public client to dedicate more attention to our personnel', he said. In particular, this issue became more sensitive after the suspension of activities of the general consulate in Benghazi following an attack against Italy's consul de Sanctis, an incident which occurred right after the economic forum Italy-Libya at the Italian foreign ministry on January 10. Lustro took part in the forum and said he was satisfied, in particular by the high level of the Libyan delegation which included President Mohamed Youssef el-Mgarief and six government members. 'They seemed to me to be very well prepared people', he said. (ANSAmed).

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