End of the year 2020 : Message of the president of ANOCA to the Olympic and Sports Africa

At the close of the year 2020, the President of ANOCA revisits the last twelve months and presents his best wishes for 2021 to all the members of the large Olympic and Sports family of the African Continent.

2020 a year that has been both tedious and rich is coming to an end!

Dear Colleagues and dear friends,

    We have come to the end of 2020. What a year! When at the end of 2019, I had the opportunity to talk to you in the same circumstances, I then said that Olympic Africa was preparing to one of the brightest pages of its history in Tokyo, on the occasion of the summer Olympic Games. We were far from imagining that a few months later, due to this terrible pandemic, the covid-19, the whole world would be experiencing sadness, desolation, tears and helpless cries. At that time we could not imagine that all communities in the planet would forcefully change all their plans, all their programmes, including travels; that even the world of sports would be compelled to postpone or simply cancel already planned competitions. The Tokyo Olympic Games, just to name this example have been postponed, to save the health and the lives of athletes, officials, volunteers and spectators; an unprecedented situation since the Second World War. The summer Youths Olympic Games scheduled for the first time in Dakar, Africa in 2022 were not spared, as they too have been pushed back in 2026. The pandemic spread so fast, causing devastation, sadness and desolation. Lives and jobs have been lost; socioeconomic balance was disrupted; never has our condition been so hardly hit and so brutally made vulnerable in such a short lapse of time.

   However, in unity and resilience that are peculiar to our Olympic Africa, we decided that exceptional circumstances must entail exceptional measures and commitment. I congratulate you and clap for you because, however bleak this situation may be, we have together taken measures which could be likened to lanterns, to bring back light and smiles to the continent’s youths.

Considering the immensity of tasks awaiting us, as well as socioeconomic and health-related constraints which have nevertheless loosened their grip, I can legitimately and proudly say that our institution fully did its job by taking actions that legitimate its central role of sports in the fulfillment of the continental youths and which display the promotion of Olympic values as major highway of our common line of conduct.

    Within a few days, we shall celebrate years relay: 2021 will be as a new athlete on the running track, bearer of our hopes, with the responsibility to share his/her success and joy with all. I sincerely wish you to enjoy a less difficult and brighter year.

     Dear Colleagues, dear friends, as it is the case each year, I would like us to revisit our journey as the leading African Olympic and sports Movement’s organization, and to plan the new year together, the year of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the year of unity and solidarity with confidence and determination.

     Among the actions bearing the seal of ANOCA, I can say from the onset that we are satisfied with the success of the holding of our extraordinary General Assembly meeting on the 6th of December 2020. This great moment of brainstorming and communion helped us to unanimously adopt the Statutes and code of ethics of our association, in the presence of all structures of the African Olympic and sports movement. Both texts bring us into modernity and good governance. This event which took place with the physical presence of participants so, as to mark the return of hope, was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Madam the President of Ethiopia, Madam the Commissioner of the African Union and many other personalities. Your massive attendance gave a new impetus to our organization and opened up new horizons. It should be noted that Doctor Thomas Bach, President IOC provided us with valuable guidelines through a message. We are sincerely grateful to him.

     The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa was also in the frontline on 19 September 2020 on the occasion of the World clean-up Day by designing a celebration strategy at African level.  This was notably based on concrete actions carried out in various NOCs of the Continent, including garbage removal, the cleaning of drains, towns and their beaches. Through these actions carried out in collaboration with Governments and the civil society, ANOCA’s aim was to reaffirm one of it’s core values, that of putting sports at the heart of respect for environment and sustainable development, while sensitizing African youths on the need to sanitize the sports environment.

       Olympafrica remained one of our main tools in our mission to make our continent’s youths fulfill themselves. I personally visited many centers in order to boost their repairs or their equipping. This programme was even central to our cooperation actions during this year. In a meeting I held with the President of the International Federation of Volley-ball on 21 February 2020, the main issue was about this association offering equipment to various centers. In the same vein, some Olympafrica should receive in the near future new infrastructure, following a series of meetings we held with authorities in that connection. Good governance and the implementation of ambitious plans with great potential yielded us the satisfaction of the IOC and the Olympic Solidarity who decided to carry on their collaboration with us. Still in the area of partnerships, we signed on 6 February 2020 in Havana in Cuba, a Sports and Exchange Cooperation Agreement with that country’s NOC. Some projects wit the CNOSF and the American Olympic Committee are about to be concluded according to our agreements. These fruitful partnerships for the Olympic family of Africa include cooperation, exchange programmes, scientific research, documentation and information. We have kept on excellent relations with our usual partners, the main one being the Olympic Solidarity who remained our main support in our mission to promote sports and Olympic values on the Continent. Following the decision to postpone the Summer Olympic Games to 2021, this partner decided to increase the budget allocated by the IOC for the participation of NOCs to this event from USD 46.7 million to USD 51 million, in order to enable National Olympic Committees face the numerous constraints stemming from this postponement, thus increasing by 25% its support to NOCs for their preparations and participation in Tokyo 2020 to be staged in 2021.

     At the level o our statutory meetings, many sessions of our Executive Committee were held, including two with the physical presence of members and one virtual. The ones with the physical attendance of members include the 55th ordinary session at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, Uganda on 7 and 8 March 2020 and an extraordinary session extraordinaire in Addis-Ababa on 4 December the same year, in prelude of the General Assembly scheduled for 6 December. Taking the opportunity offered by ICTs in a context of limited travels due to the Covid-19 crisis, we held an extraordinary meeting of our Executive Committee through video-conference on 27 April 2020. This strategic meeting was to debate on a couple of crucial issues, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on sports and measures to be implemented in order to face its impacts. It is also through that medium that the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa organized the 37th Seminar for African NOC Secretaries General on November 20 and 21 under the theme « Emergence of the African Olympic and Sports Movement from covid-19: obstacle, safe restart of competitions and planning future events». This meeting was an occasion to harmonize managing techniques for a new start of African sports, bearing in mind the upcoming Post-Covid Era and the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. Still in 2020, we displayed a good example to the world of sports by organizing the extraordinary session of our General Assembly in Addis-Ababa with all Members physically present; through its holding, this meeting conveyed a message of brotherhood, unity and solidarity in a context of uncertainty marked by a health crisis. I have already said it earlier; during this meeting, we adopted our Statutes and our Code of ethics. But above everything, the Olympic and sporting Africa was conquered and very receptive to the message of hope sent by her great friend, Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee.

     In the domain of communication, coordinated actions obeying to a well-defined strategy are taken to make sure that our activities and our positions on various important issues are known. A rich newsletter is published on a regular basis; in addition, ANOCA’s website, www.africaolympic.org is a true window on our institution which is open to the world of sports and Olympic activities. It is relooked every time both structurally and graphically and regularly updated. Our press releases, our facebook pages and our newspaper ANOCA Magazine complement this set of permanent communication actions taken to give more visibility to our institution and to African sports every day.

    As concerns appointments of the Olympic Movement, ANOCA, through its representatives, took part in many meetings bearing some importance for the future u four continental Olympic Movement. I am referring to the Executive Council of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) that met on 18 May 2020 and gave us the opportunity to express ourselves on behalf of African NOCs facing serious material difficulties due to the health crisis. The message went through as this organization decided to devote more than twelve million dollars to support continental associations and CNOs affected by the Covid-19 crisis with an additional support to Africa, given the numerous and specific difficulties encountered and presented on that day. In the same vein, many Africans were honoured by the 136th Session of the International Olympic Committee held through video-conference. On this occasion, new personalities made their entry into the organization; other changed positions while other had their mandates renewed. Aïcha Garad Ali, President the Djibouti NOC was reelected for an 8-year term of office. William Frederick Blick for his part moved from Representative Member of a NOC (in relation to his position as President of Ugandan NOC) to individual Member. As Beatrice Allen will be coming at the end of her mandate at the end of 2020 due to age limit, she was promoted Honorary Member for having served the IOC for 14 years. We also took part in the IOC Executive Commission meeting on 11 November 2020. During the said meeting a 16% increase of the Olympic Solidarity total budget was adopted for the period 2021-2024; it will henceforth amount to USD 590 million. The objective of this increase is for the IOC to increase its support to athletes, to National Olympic Committees and to continental associations. ANOCA also hailed the taking up by Nawal El Moutawakel in January 2020 of her post as IOC Executive Commission Member, and whose brilliant election made all sports and Olympic Africa proud.

    Despite these outstanding events and actions which, in these trying moments contributed to bring some breath of air to the African sports and Olympic Movement, the year 2020 would have been sometimes marred by sad news of demise of high-ranking personalities who, throughout their lives contributed in promoting the image of the African sports movement. This is the case of the death of the former President of the IBAF and honorary IBAF Africa, Abdoulaye Seye Moreau and other personalities who will be always remembered.

   Dear readers, dear friends, at the moment year 2020 is coming to its end, continue in 2021 to be convinced with ANOCA that Sports is an educational, training, health and solidarity factor and that it contributes to social cohesion, which is the guarantee of a multifaceted development. It will be the year of the staging of the Olympic Games. Henceforth, we should endeavour to make as priority in all our actions a successful participation of our continent in this event. That is an immense challenge we must take up! We need all of us to succeed. Let’s unite our efforts, our human, financial and logistic resources. Let’s put ourselves in synergy for the triumph of our Africa in Tokyo.
As you are well aware, many other challenges stand in front of us, such as major sports events (2022 Addis-Ababa Games, 2023 Ghana All Africa Games, Paris Olympic Games, Lesotho All Africa Games, etc.), issues related to women promotion or the promotion of athletes as well as the of our leaders, our officials and technicians.

I also have the honour and the pleasure to let you know that our Association has for the first time developed a strategic plan for which the President of the IOC congratulated us and that will enter into force as from 2021.

    A few hours from the close of 2020, I wish you happiness, prosperity and good health for 2021. Special thoughts for all of you who are working to give more visibility to African sports and who, through your actions, are facilitating the spread of Olympic values throughout the continent; I am thinking here of Ministers in charge of sports, National Olympic Committees’ officials, Presidents of African sports confederations, as well as leaders of officials of international, national federations and clubs. 
My wishes also go to ANOCA Executive Committee Members, to athletes, to the thousands of volunteers and to institutional partners of our association such as the IOC, ANO, NOCs International Federations UCSA, Confederations, AIPS, the Keba Mbaye Foundation, JAPPO SA, WADA etc.

May God Almighty protect you. God bless you and your beloved ones.

                            Mustapha Berraf,
IOC member

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