The Region 5 Council of Ministers convenes an extra-ordinary meeting on Friday 4 December 2020. The meeting will be held on virtual platforms. This meeting was originally scheduled to be held on the margins of the 2020 Region 5 Youth Games which were scheduled to run from 4 to 13 December 2020. The Games have since been postponed to the period 3 to 12 December 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nine out of the ten Ministers responsible for sport in the AUSC Region 5 Member Countries are expected to participate in the meeting with Namibia having tendered an apology in advance.
The Council of Ministers meeting is scheduled to take stock of the status of sport in the Region, including assessing the impact of programmes that were implemented during the period under review. The effects of the novel Covid-19 pandemic on sport is expected to take centre stage as Ministers are expected to approve strategies and policies that will stimulate and rediscover the trajectory of sport under the new normal that the entire world finds itself in. Ministers are also expected to reflect on how athletes’ welfare can be safeguarded now and in the future to limit the effects of the current and future setbacks on their livelihoods and performance standards.
The AUSC Region 5 Council of Ministers Chairperson, Honourable Likeleli Tampane will be chairing the meeting and will be accompanied by members of her Troika being Honourable Ulemu Msungama of Malawi and Honourable Tumiso Rakgare of Botswana. Honourable Ministers from Angola, Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to be part of the meeting. Honourable Agnes Tjongarero of Namibia tendered her apology.
During the period under review, a lot of developments and issues have emerged that have impacted sport both negatively and positively. The Council of Ministers is expected to articulate these issues and pronounce policy direction to steer the industry and move it forward. The role of sport in addressing macro and socio-economic fundamentals will be scrutinized through the sports lens. Ministers will have to address how sport can be used to harness demographic dividends through youth empowerment and economic transformation. Sport should also speak to and contribute towards social cohesion, economic empowerment through employment creation, foreign direct investment through sports tourism and investment in infrastructure as well as address social fundamentals such as health, education, preservation of cultural heritage and gender mainstreaming and equity.
The Council of Ministers meeting is preceding a sports review forum which is scheduled for Lesotho in 2021. The forum will be reviewing the AUSC Region 5 2018 – 2028 Strategic Plan and re-set the organisation’s direction. The decision of the Council of Ministers meeting on Friday 4 December 2020 will therefore set the tone for the review of the Strategic Plan and provide indicators of the priorities that the Region and Member Countries should target beyond 2021.
In view of the prevailing global changes which have affected all facets of livelihoods, the Council of Ministers will be challenged to devise ways and means to sustain sport for the current and future generations. A reflection of the decisions made by the Council during the 2019 Ordinary Meeting held in Maseru, Lesotho as well as two Troika meetings held in April and July 2020 will provide a radar for the Council to create momentum for transformation and revitalization of sport.
The AUSC Region 5 Council of Ministers has a reputation in Africa for being consistent in astute in their decisions and for consistency in implementation of such. The region has been consistent in its implementation of the Region 5 Youth Games, Podium Performance Programme and Regional Annual Sports Awards among others.
Millions of sportsmen and sportswomen will be looking forward to key decisions emanating from the Council of Ministers meeting to positively impact their careers and general sustenance of sport in the ten Member Countries.