« When we take Africa as an object of study, it is not at all appropriate to act as if we were evolving in virgin lands », Professor A. Sakho*.


*Professor Abdoulaye SAKHO, Associate Professor of Law, Founding Director of the Master’s Degree in Sports Law and Economics EDGE/CRES Institute. Dakar.

12 December 2020

A very interesting and useful report for the actors of African sport. It is entitled « ECOSYSTEM OF SPORT IN AFRICA: FROM POTENTIAL TO DEVELOPMENT LEVERAGE ». It is the result of a joint study by an international group Mazars (specializing in audit, tax and consulting) and a non-profit organization ASCI (specializing in helping, among others, sports stakeholders create a sustainable ecosystem through research, consulting and advocacy). It is dated this December 2020.

The purpose of this report was to answer three questions, which are excellently set out in the foreword: how to transform the potential of African sport into an economic reality; what are the obstacles to the development of sport in Africa; what are the levers to make it a real economic engine for the development of the continent?

Based on surveys of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, the study produced a significant result based on six main themes considered « relevant to an analysis of the continental sport ecosystem. These themes mainly concern: statistics, training, governance, business climate, marketing and adaptations to contemporary innovations.

In the end, the report makes 16 concrete recommendations to transform the continent’s enormous potential into a sport economy that contributes to Africa’s development.

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed when I read the recommendations. There was a feeling of déjà vu, or rather of having read it before. I believe that when one takes Africa as an object of study, it is not at all appropriate to act as if one were evolving in virgin lands. And from this point of view, I believe that the report could have done better.

When one reviews the various recommendations, the impression is that nothing has been done by Africans in these areas. In any case, as far as my country is concerned, I have the impression that the authors of the report are not aware of what has been done and has been happening in my country for over a decade. This is unfortunate because the main diagnoses and recommendations in the report have been made in intellectual and scientific productions of public knowledge. I will have the opportunity to come back to this!

But in the meantime, I would like to take up the report of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office, published in May 2011, about the problems of research in this institution when it comes to Africa. This report told us at the time that it is « institutionally oriented research », that there are « ideological biases », that « conclusions are preconceived », that some studies are based on an « analytical framework inappropriate to the realities of the countries studied » and better that there is in IMF research, a « repeated failure to cite the work of local researchers ».

Without being so severe, I consider that citing the work and practices of researchers and actors in the field of sport would have enriched this report, which would not appear to me as a work of « lesson givers ». Our Africa today is no longer the Africa of the 1960s.

Very sportingly.

Source: Emedia


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