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23 May 2007
IOC News

IOC President continues tour through Africa

These days Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is back in Africa to tie up to his first trip earlier this year when he visited Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Uganda. His second journey to Africa within a few months will take him to South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia. In every country Jacques Rogge will meet the head of state and will visit community projects. This will allow him to discuss and experience the development of African Sport in which the IOC has a deep interest. “For me this is a learning trip” says the IOC President. “I want to know exactly what challenges the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the sport in the region are facing. And it is also an opportunity for the IOC to access the governments and to convince them that it is worth to support sport and its structures”.

Olympafrica – addressing the local youth
Developing countries present a challenge to the practice of sport: here sport is often hindered by the economic gap, the lack of infrastructure and the state of public health. In Lesotho and in Zambia, the IOC President will inaugurate two Olympafrica Centres, which aim to tackle this challenge and which have been set up with financial support by the IOC. The Olympafrica programme was developed to avail the youth of developing countries in Africa with the spin-offs and benefits from Olympism. This initiative enables NOCs to develop basic and low-cost sports installations that seek to foster interest in sport and participation of youth in the local community. Olympafrica Centres include sports and cultural facilities with a strong socio-educational dimension (literary centres, medical facilities etc.).

Joint forces for “Sport for Hope”
“Sport for Hope” is another outstanding project Jacques Rogge will launch in Zambia, the host country of the 2011 African Games. For the first time, various parties involved in sport have decided to pool their resources for the benefit of young Zambian people: the Zambian government will donate the land to the NOC, the IOC will build a multipurpose complex and several International Federations will bring in expertise and build their own specific infrastructure around the core building. “With such an Olympic Sport for Hope Centre, athletes, young people and communities in developing countries will have the same opportunities as their peers in developed countries to practise sport and be educated in the values of Olympism” continues the IOC President.

Sport for Development
These project examples show that speaking about sport development often also implies the need of development through sport. Sport helps bridge cultural and ethnic divides, creates jobs and businesses, promotes tolerance and non-discrimination, reinforces social integration, and advocates healthy lifestyles.

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