WADA discusses ongoing collaboration with Governments of Africa to strengthen anti-doping

african forum 2022

Yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) President, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer addressed a virtual meeting of the Ministers of Sport and other senior Government officials from 12 countries in Africa to discuss the ongoing collaboration of Governments in the region in strengthening anti-doping throughout the continent.

The meeting was organized by WADA as the latest in a series of such engagements involving Governments from all over the world, with future similar meetings being planned. The goal is to engage Governments in discussions to ensure they are kept up to date on the latest developments in anti-doping and to listen and respond to any questions, concerns or comments they may have.

In his address, WADA President Witold Bańka focused on three main points, namely: the need for each nation to have a robust and relevant anti-doping program; the need for increased funding for anti-doping; and the importance of putting athletes at the center of the mission, listening to what they are saying and ensuring they are part of the decision-making process.

Mr. Bańka said: “Africa has always played a significant role in the development of WADA, with Government officials holding decisive roles in the establishment and development of the Agency. They helped to nurture and support WADA to where and what it is today and that support endures, strong as ever. The nature of WADA is a collaboration, a team effort. We need all Governments to be cheerleaders for anti-doping in each of their countries so that athletes are protected by a strong anti-doping program.”

WADA Vice-President Yang Yang stressed to the meeting that Governments and sports federations must also work together to protect the health and well-being of African athletes. She said: “We must sing with one voice in protecting national pride in the performances of athletes, jointly uphold athletes’ rights and responsibilities, and collaboratively create a conducive environment for the development and implementation of strong and sustainable anti-doping programs.” 

In addition, the Vice-President’s speech focused on education, and she outlined the important work WADA was doing in this area, stressing that the vast majority of athletes want to compete clean.

In his presentation, WADA Chief Operating Officer, Frédéric Donzé, provided detail on WADA’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, outlined the Agency’s compliance monitoring program and development programs, and encouraged ongoing partnership and collaboration.

The Governments of Africa are currently represented on WADA’s Foundation Board by Hawel Mamod'ali, Minister of Youth and Sports of Madagascar; Ashraf Sobhy, Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports; and Mustapha Ussif, Minister for Youth and Sports of Ghana. On WADA’s Executive Committee, the continent is currently represented by Minata Cessouma Samate, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development of the African Union.