Big help is being provided for some so-called small sports through a thrust from the national sports agency, the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS). The initiative, called the Minor Sports Development Programme, will see the state body partnering with rugby, volleyball, softball, table tennis and basketball in several areas. Leaders of several of the national sporting associations recently met with INSPORTS’ administrative director, Ian Andrews, and discussed ways of improving the growth and development of the respective sports. “All of these organisations say they have these programmes going, but they don’t have the technical capacity,” Andrews noted. “If we can help them with the technical expertise and to get proper venues, then it would go a far way in lifting their sport,” he added, further explaining the need of raising their profile to spark interest and participation. Arising out of the meeting at the agency’s head office, consensus was arrived at with regards to critical areas of need. These are: – Technical support in the form of training coaches and game officials; – Facilities (playing fields and courts); – Equipment; – Primary school age-group competitions; – Meeting facility; – Administrative development capacity. “They’ve been pressuring us for help,” continued Andrews, who outlined that the associations welcomed the Minor Sports Development Programme initiative and pledged their support and cooperation to ensure that maximum benefits to the nation’s youths were forthcoming. Part of the development, he explains, is reciprocal, as they intend to increase the knowledge base to have more persons involved in the training process. “They can train our officers so that they can be certified and help with instituting these programmes,” Andrews said. Calvin Martin, vice-president of the Jamaica Basketball Association and president of the Southern Conference Basketball Association, “thinks the initiative is long overdue” and implored other sporting bodies to work hard at improving their game. “I’m hoping that all the other sports, besides basketball, push for more support,” said Martin. “We don’t have the networking, the resources and personnel and when INSPORTS comes on board, it helps to grow and develop some more. We want to host seminars and learn more about carrying out the day-to-day activities.” He added: “Their youth programmme should benefit mainly. For us, we have mini basketball for the Under-13s, which is our focus this year, and INSPORTS has pledged to support that. We’re starting out in Kingston, St Catherine and Montego Bay. We’re hoping to get into Mandeville as well, but we’re starting out small and see if we can grow. “Mini basketball has two components, one is aimed at the community and the other for prep and primary schools.” Martin, who is also a sports officer at INSPORTS, further noted that “basketball has always gotten support from INSPORTS”, but said they are shooting for increased backing. “We’ll also be looking for additional private partners. What the programme needs cannot be supplied by one entity,” he stated.
Nicky Rehbock The key to Africa’s development lies instimulating thriving local and globalbusinesses and brands on the continent,according to Brand Africa chairpersonThebe Ikalafeng.MEDIA CONTACTS• Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122The upcoming 2011 Brand Africa Forum will tackle key issues affecting the continent’s growth, reputation and competitiveness to ensure lasting Africa-centric solutions.The event, hosted by Brand South Africa and Brand Leadership Academy, will take place on 29 September at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.It offers global thought leaders, influencers and decision-makers a valuable opportunity to interact and discuss matters ranging from governance and sustainability, growth-enabling policies, as well as business and its role in shaping the continent’s economic future.The significance of South Africa joining Brazil, Russia, India and China in the BRICS bloc will also be explored, along with lessons to be learnt from emerging markets.“Brand South Africa’s involvement in the Brand Africa Forum goes back to the inaugural event in 2010,” says Brand SA CEO Miller Matola.“For us it was a natural fit because the health of Africa’s brand is important for the strength and health of our own nation brand. If countries on the continent improve in terms of their image and reputation, the same holds for South Africa. Our prosperity is inextricably linked to that of the other countries on the continent.”Powerful line-up of speakersThe 2011 forum boasts an impressive range of guest speakers, including renowned global business consultant Dr Vijay Mahajan, global economist Dr Dambisa Moyo, Brand SA chairperson Anitha Soni, Brand Africa chairperson Thebe Ikalafeng and Rakesh Wahi, who is the vice-chairperson and co-founder of CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa.A dynamic panel of young leaders from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Senegal have also been included to discuss youth and their vision for the continent.“One of the things we learnt from last year’s event was that we need to focus on discussions that are more about the continent and include people from those places. We also need to create more media outlets for the stories that are generated as a result of this. With the diverse line-up of speakers at this year’s event – and journalists who will be there to cover it – we will ensure that it’s not just South Africans talking about Africa,” says Miller.Importance of corporate brandsWhile there’s been extensive coverage on multinational, Fortune 500 South African companies such as SABMiller, Old Mutual and Anglo American, less is recorded about similarly influential concerns elsewhere on the continent.These include Oando PLC, Nigeria’s largest indigenous energy group; Kenya’s CFC Bank and its East African Portland Cement Company; Angola’s national diamond company Endiama; as well as Sudan’s Kenana Sugar Company.“One of the messages we want to spread through the forum is that corporate brands are very important in developing nation brands and nations’ economies,” says Miller, adding that it is through telling these stories that Africa can be “positioned as the next growth frontier in terms of investment and business”.Dealing with Africa’s challengesWhile the forum will focus on the positive issues arising from the continent’s growth and development, Africa’s challenges won’t be ignored.Situations unfolding in North Africa, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Zimbabwe are just some of those which are up for discussion.“At last year’s event there were very open and frank discussions about the continent and some of its weaknesses. Issues that need to be addressed this year focus on challenges in terms of democratisation, macroeconomic reform and policies that impede competitiveness,” Miller says.“To build a strong brand you need to look at these fundamentals – it can’t just be about image. I believe the Brand Africa Forum 2011 will ensure that we have a platform for open and balanced debate, which will take the continent forward.”Practical outcomes of the forum will include a written report on discussions, which will be made available online and across a variety of platforms throughout the world. It will also be given to potential investors and interest groups, according to Miller.The 2011 forum proceedings will be broadcast by CNBC Africa to 41 sub-Saharan African countries.