The Chief Executive Officer for African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5, Mr. Stanley Mutoya paid a courtesy call to SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, in Gaborone, Botswana, on the 15th May 2019. The AUSC Region 5 is the sports arm of the African Union, aimed at using sports as a vehicle to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa, and is comprised of ten (10) SADC Members (in line with the African Union configuration) namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mutoya thanked the SADC Executive Secretary for the opportunity to meet and discuss the role of sports in the SADC region and the African Continent at large. To this end, he informed H.E Dr. Tax that Morocco will host the 2019 African Games, from 19th to 31st August 2019, in Rabat and Casablanca. This was seen as an exciting period for the youth of Africa to interact and share experiences and cultural heritage, affirming that no African country should be left out, as sports unifies the youth of Africa. In this regard the two Parties re-affirmed support to Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic to be part of the games in line with the Declaration on the SADC Solidarity Conference with Western Sahara of 26th March 2016.
To cement the existing relations, Mr. Mutoya informed the Executive Secretary that, AUSC Region 5 has identified some potential areas of collaboration with the SADC Secretariat as aligned to the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). These included: the need to promote trade in sports equipment across the region, under the RISDP priority on Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure in support of regional integration; sports tourism, ICT, Education and training in sports, Health and wellness activities, and sports and environment.
AUSC Region 5 also presented a Medal of Honour to SADC Secretariat, on behalf of Member States, for their support in sports infrastructure development. The medal was conferred during the regional Under 20 youth games which were held in 2016, in Luanda, Angola. The youth games take place every two years, and the 2018 games where hosted by Botswana, while the 2020 and 2022 games will be hosted by Lesotho and Malawi respectively.
H.E. Dr. Tax welcomed the Chief Executive Officer, and expressed satisfaction with the existing cordial relations between the SADC Secretariat and the AUSC Region 5 Secretariat. When receiving the Medal of Honour, on behalf of Member States, Dr Tax said, the award is a motivation for SADC to thrive to do more regarding regional integration, including, support in sports infrastructure development.
The two Parties agreed that sports contribute to a number of activities, and resolved to map out the linkages and firm up the proposed areas of cooperation. The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, Deputy Executive Secretary –Corporate Affairs; Director of Policy Planning and Resources Mobilisation, Mr. Mubita Luwabelwa, and Director of Social and Human Development, Ms. Duduzile Simelane. The AUSC Region 5 CEO was accompanied by Mr Petros Mrape, Programs Manager, and Mr Siyabonga Sangweni Project and Marketing Manager.