February 09, 2010 12:38
North Korean craftsmen have completed a giant bronze monument named "African Renaissance" on a hill near Dakar International Airport in Senegal. Construction started in summer 2007, and the ceremony marking completion will be held on April 4, the 50th anniversary of Senegal's independence from France.
At 50 m in height, the monstrosity is taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York and represents a heroic couple apparently about to launch their child into the sky.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade told the Wall Street Journal, "Its message is about Africa emerging from the darkness, from five centuries of slavery and two centuries of colonialism."
The Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, the North Korean construction firm that built the monument, is most celebrated for its 20 m statue of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, built in the heart of Pyongyang in 1972. The company is popular in Africa for its competitive edge in building "big, simple and cheap" works.
The cost of construction was reported at US$25 million, but experts estimate it would have been nearer $70 million. The Senegalese president told the WSJ that he had "no budget for the African Renaissance, so instead offered a prime chunk of state-owned land in exchange, which North Korea has since resold at a large profit."
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