Representatives from around 30 of Africa’s French-speaking FIFA member associations came together at a development conference held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 27-28 March 2018.
Organised jointly by FIFA and the Mauritanian Football Association (FFRIM) and the first event of its kind, the conference offered participants guidelines on how to implement football development projects in their respective countries, within the framework of FIFA’s FORWARD programme.
Attended by the presidents and secretary generals of the national associations of French-speaking Africa, the conference was also organised by FIFA’s African and Caribbean Member Associations Division, four of whose representatives were at the event. The conference provided an opportunity for its participants to gather all the information they need to make their development initiatives viable and compliant with the objectives of the FORWARD programme.
The attendees watched presentations on income-generation activities that can help put the finances of Africa’s national associations on a solid footing. Planning and project management were among the topics up for discussion, along with other core themes essential to the successful development of football projects as a tool for social cohesion.
The following member associations were present in Nouakchott: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo DR, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
Veron Mosengo-Omba, the Regional Director of the FIFA’s African and Caribbean Member Associations Division, expressed his satisfaction with the content of the debates and the contributions made by participants.
“The aim of this development conference, an initiative that began with President Gianni Infantino, is very specific,” he said. “It is for FIFA to support its member associations and give them the best possible guidance when they roll out their projects via the FORWARD programme.”
FFRIM President Ahmed Yahya exchanged a few words with participants and members of the FIFA delegation and was delighted to see other national associations take inspiration from Mauritania in terms of management and the development of football.
“Thanks to the $5 million invested over four years by FIFA, the FFRIM has been able to develop a number of projects,” he said. “That might seem like a drop in the ocean for a national association such as USA, which has more than $100 million at its disposal, but for a country like ours it’s a pretty sizeable amount.”
In his welcome speech, President Yahya added that he was honoured to host the conference so shortly after the FIFA Summit in Nouakchott on 18 February. “It is a show of confidence for Mauritania, which has been chosen by FIFA despite having few resources. It is an honour and we accept it,” he added. “It also highlights the impact the Mauritanian state is having on local football.”