On the eve of the final of the Africa Zone qualification tournament for the Rugby World Cup France 2023 on Sunday 10 July, in the presence of the Ambassador for Sport, Laurence Fischer, the French Development Agency (AFD) and Rugby Afrique, with the support of the France 2023 Organising Committee, announced that they would be carrying out a joint portfolio of development actions through rugby.

Through an agreement, the partners are committed to promoting the values of rugby and contributing to France 2023’s legacy policy. This partnership also maintains AFD’s and Rugby Afrique’s shared desire to bring the France 2023 Rugby World Cup to life on the African continent.

Four years after the Ouagadougou speech in which the President of the Republic declared that he wanted to make sport “a lever for youth and economic and social development in Africa”, the New Africa-France Summit on 8 October, which was implemented by the Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, was an opportunity to reiterate the importance of sport in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A 100% team spirit partnership

Designed around several areas of intervention, the partnership aims to

  • Set up an AFD x Rugby Africa call for projects designed to support project leaders on the African continent using rugby as a vector for development and in particular to make women’s rugby a real tool for the emancipation of women and girls;
  • Organise joint communication activities to promote rugby in Africa and the rugby and development projects already supported by AFD and future winners of the call for projects;
  • Continue the dialogue between African and French rugby federations to promote the capitalisation of experience and sport for all.

Together, the three partners will promote the values of rugby in Africa and highlight its benefits in all areas of development, with a focus on young people and women.

Rugby for development

AFD and Rugby Afrique, with the support of France 2023, are launching the “Rugby and Development” call for projects to mirror the national call for projects launched by France 2023 through its “Rugby at Heart” endowment fund. The aim is to support projects led by African associations and federations that contribute to sustainable development on the continent, particularly through the practice of rugby by women.

In the framework of its Sport and Development strategy, AFD has already supported around ten “Rugby and Development” projects via different financing mechanisms and has incubated a project led by a former rugby player in the framework of the first incubator session proposed by AFD and Paris 2024.

This is a good sign that the future winners of the call for projects have a promising future!