Skhirate – Africa’s future hinges on “empowering our youths, opening up prospects for them to showcase their skills and talents and our ability to integrate young Africans,” King Mohammed VI announced on July 18.
In an address at the “African Football, Our Vision” symposium in Skhirate near Rabat, the King stressed that Africa’s major wealth is its young people, noting that youth account for two-thirds of the continent’s population.
Read by Minister of Youth and Sports Rachid Talbi Alami, the King’s remarks identified sports, particularly football,as one of the main ways to integrate young people into the social and economic fabric. The message explained that sports were also a means to shield young people against all forms of delinquency, extremism and the risks associated with illegal migration.
Football is the most popular sport in Africa and the world, the King said, highlighting its importance in communities across the continent. He added that African football has a strong record at an international level.
According to the King, African football must rise to today’s challenge of modernization and keeping up with the rapid developments of sports worldwide. He noted that such a goal cannot be achieved unless governing bodies commit to good governance, improved training and upgraded infrastructure.
The King added that the need to meet requirements for professional careers and enhance the marketing of African football was of equal importance, and that a balance must be made between the development of elite football and football for everybody.
Concrete solutions must be given to a policy rooted in solidarity with African countries, which promotes the importance of inter-African cooperation. King Mohammed VI added that the kingdom was keen to sharethe experience it gained in the sports sector with fellow African nations.
“The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has signed more than 34 agreements covering a number of areas, including infrastructure, sports medicine and the exchange of technical expertise, in addition to hosting training camps for the national teams of a number of African sister nations, all categories included,” the King added.
In his concluding remarks, the King stressed that Morocco is looking forward to the advent of a strong, cooperative, solidarity-based Africa that takes its rightful place in the global scheme. He said the kingdom would be present at all levels, whether it be decision-making, participation or the legitimate right to organize world-class sporting events, particularly the World Cup.
“Given the African football experts attending this important symposium, and their undisputed passion and sincere enthusiasm to uphold African interests, I am sure the meeting will manage to chart a course of action for the development of African football.”