The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 has revised annual subscription fees for its members from $20 000 (about K15 million) to $25 000 (about K18 million) to mitigate the impact of coronavirus pandemic and ensure the organisation’s sustainability.
This follows an emergency risk assessment conference meeting the AUSC Region 5 Council of Ministers convened online yesterday through Skype to assess the devastating effects of the global pandemic on the bloc’s 2020 sports programmes.
A communiqué that the region 5’s Council of Ministers, known as Troika, issued yesterday, explained: “Given the exposure of the region to financial risk, and in an effort to mitigate such to ensure sustainability and the going concerns of the organisation, the annual subscription fee will be reviewed upwards.”
The Troika has also resolved that the payment of the first 50 percent of fees for the region’s members be deferred to July 1 2020 and the final payment by October 1 2020.
“This [the deferring of payment date] will allow countries to have enough time to mobilise resources in the wake of recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the communiqué explained.
The body, whose members include Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS), has as well resolved to postpone the 2020 Youth Games scheduled for December in Lesotho to April/May 2021 should the pandemic continue by July this year.
However, it has been agreed that the 2022 Games scheduled for Malawi should remain unchanged.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso yesterday said while the changes are somehow painful considering the prevailing financial challenges the bloc is going through, it is important for Malawi and other countries to embrace them.
He was among the three sports Ministers in the 10-member bloc that took part in the online meeting. Others were his Lesotho counterparts Mahali Phamotse and Tumiso Takgare of Botswana.
“The impact of the pandemic has not spared any country. Considering that we are in a global village, it is important to work together as we advance our sports agenda as a region 5 bloc,” he said.
“There are certain sacrifices we have to make to ensure our survival and the changes we have made should be adhered to although they are painful.”
AUSC Region 5 vice-chairperson George Jana, who is former MNCS executive secretary, said they thought of organising the meeting after noting the impact of the pandemic on sports and its devastating magnitude to health and safety of nations globally and appreciating swift interventions of governments to flatten the infection curve.
“We are determined to safeguard the health and well-being of all sportspersons in the region while ensuring continuity of the AUSC Region 5 business during the period of restricted social distancing,” he said.
Sport is among the hardest hit industries by the pandemic globally with sporting activities cancelled, suspended or postponed to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
The pandemic already forced Region 5 to put on hold a number of other activities this year such as the Region 5 Marathon in South Africa, Chefs De Mission meetings, Women in Sports meeting and Executive Committee meeting between March and May.
AUSC Region 5 is one of the five regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sports under the African Union. It comprises 10 countries, namely Malawi, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, E-swatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.