ANOCA president’s message on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022

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“IN AFRICA, WOMEN AND SPORT GIVE REAL MEANING TO LIFE AND DEVELOPMENT”

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022, Mustapha Berraf, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and IOC Member, sends a special message to all the women of Africa and the World at large.

Every 8th of March, the World takes time to reflect on the promotion of women’s rights. This year, the theme chosen by the United Nations is “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”

As such, the African Olympic and Sports Movement, through the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), is proclaiming the relevance and joy of the involvement of African women in Sport practice and development. Our Movement builds on the IOC’s salutary guidelines to implement an ambitious programme based on modernity and gender equality.

In these extremely difficult moments for all humanity, I wish to pay a glowing tribute to women at all levels of responsibility and in particular to Mrs Lydia Nsekerra and Mrs Fatouma Samoura, respectively President of the Gender Equality Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Secretary-General of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), to Mrs Bouchra Hajij, President of the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB), for her determination and bravery in taking up this heavy responsibility.

Household names such as Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco), Hassiba Boulmerka (Algeria), Maria Mutola (Mozambique), Françoise Mbango Etone (Cameroon), Amy Mbacke Thiam (Senegal), Caster Semenya (South Africa), Kirsty Conventry (Zimbabwe) or Perpetua Nkwocha (Nigeria), are part of this long line of African women who have written the most beautiful letters of patent nobility of Sport and resistance for emancipation.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as it continues to grow with the much younger crop of athletes expressing their talent in all sporting disciplines in the greatest continental and world events. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics afforded a platform for young female athletes to showcase their impressive talent.

Women and Sport, gender equality, what an incredible odyssey for African and global youth! It is a story told through the Olympic values of love, solidarity and sharing. Values that women have always carried naturally and divinely through their maternal instinct, which today radiates the world of sport.

Sport needs women and women need sport.

We have known this for a long time. Since then, we have committed ourselves to examining the problems relating to the development of women and sport. This resulted in an action plan for the development of women’s sport.

Within the framework of its duties, and following in the heels of its first meeting on 8 May 2020, the Gender Equality Commission met again on 8 July 2020. During this second meeting, the Commission validated its mandate, coordinated by ANOCA Vice President and Chairperson of the Commission, Matlohang Moiloa Ramoquopo.

The Commission thus encourages and supports women’s empowerment in sport. In 2022, this is a commitment that we will fulfil by implementing the equitable representation of women in the other ANOCA Commissions and our 2020-2024 Gender Equality Action Plan.

Our objective is also to carry out many projects to support women in sport in Africa. This requires the involvement of all our 54 National Olympic Committees and all African governments.

Women play an essential and fundamental role in Africa in the education of young people and in society. Many women are taking on more and more responsibilities both in our Olympic bodies and in sports ministries, but it is still a long road. We are campaigning for better promotion of women’s sports and for women to be given greater responsibilities in the world of sport.

This is exactly what will give real meaning to the life and development of Africa. This is our message for the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022. Sport and women are one. Let’s stand together for future generations.

Mustapha Berraf

IOC Member

President of ANOCA

Holder of the African Olympic Order

Member of the ANOC Olympic Order

Holder of the IOC Olympic Order

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