For the first time in FIA history, the Sport and Mobility pillars came together this week for one major FIA Conference in Sun City, South Africa, (29 April-1 May), culminating with the fifth edition of the Sport Regional Congress for Africa.
Over the course of an intensive three-day programme, comprising more than 50 different events and activities, more than 500 delegates including 161 ASNs, ACNs and Mobility Clubs from 117 countries participated in a wide range of plenary sessions, panel discussions and workshops. These addressed topics such as Developing Nations, Driving Talent, New Trends in Urban Mobility and Sustainable Futures for Motor Sport and Mobility.
The delegates were kindly hosted by the AASA (Automobile Association of South Africa) with the support of MSA (Motorsport South Africa).
With the FIA Conference concluded, the focus switched immediately from discussion to action at the Sport Regional Congress (2-3 May). More than 70 delegates, experts and speakers from 20 countries worked together to prioritise motor sport development in the region.
The Congress was led by FIA President Jean Todt and FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker, FIA Vice President for Africa Surinder Thatthi and MSA President Anton Roux.
“The Africa region has incredible potential for development, as we have been able to fully appreciate during the FIA Conference here in Sun City. It is always better to ‘do’ rather than ‘say’, so I am very happy that we have been immediately able to begin unlocking that potential during the past two days at our FIA Sport Regional Congress for Africa,” said President Todt.
“I would like to thank and congratulate our hosts, the AASA and the MSA, for a magnificent and inspiring week, and for their exceptional organisation and hospitality. We have all benefited from this deeper insight into the region’s motor sport culture, and the intensive schedule has been made all the more enjoyable by some wonderful opportunities to experience Africa’s breathtaking landscapes and enchanting culture.”
The Congress programme included sessions on Safety Culture and Insurance, Event Management and Grassroots Disciplines, such as Motorkhana Racing and XC National Cross Car, all organised under the leadership of the FIA ASN Development Task Force chaired by Andrew Papadopoulos.
Todt continued: ”Motor sport is enjoying a renaissance in the Continent. The Safari Rally Kenya is making its way back to the WRC calendar and will host a candidate event in early July. In Circuit Racing, we witnessed a spectacular E-Prix in Morocco in January with the new generation of Formula E cars. WTCR began its 2019 season in Marrakech last month, marking 10 years of Touring Car races in the region. In terms of Off-Road, the World Rallycross Championship will return to South Africa in November.
“Rally has a magnificent heritage here. Created in 1981, the FIA African Rally Championship is the only international motor sport championship organised exclusively on the African continent, with rounds held in the Ivory Coast, South Africa – in Sabie, just last weekend – in Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. It is also pleasing to note that Namibia and Ethiopia are considering joining the calendar. Africa is also the homeland of Cross-Country, with the 2019 World Cup for Cross Country Rallies concluding in Morocco in October.”
In closing, President Todt said: “This excellent Congress has highlighted the spirit of unity between the ASNs and ACNs. As we leave Sun City, we are already excited to see what the African Clubs can achieve over the next twelve months.”
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