The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly since the beginning of 2020 and Africa has not been spared. Many countries on the continent have been affected and the number of confirmed cases of the virus remains high. According to the latest figures from the African Union (as of 15 September 2020), a total of 1,366,138 cases of coronavirus have been recorded.
In view of this health crisis, sport and sporting competition have come to a complete standstill around the world. Major events, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, have been postponed and all sports leagues have been cancelled, with the Basketball Africa League being one of the first to suspend its schedule of games.
Several initiatives have been launched by stakeholders in the African and international sports ecosystem. Many well-known high-performance athletes have been actively participating in efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in their respective countries. Whether by making donations, speaking out or using their platforms, athletes have rallied round to help and raise awareness among the most vulnerable sectors of society and to support their governments.
Sports bodies and federations have participated in major awareness-raising campaigns, like the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has done in partnership with the NGO Speak Up Africa. FIFA, for its part, has drawn up a far-reaching financial relief plan to assist its member associations. Sports ministries have mobilised in their respective countries to assist and raise awareness among the most vulnerable populations.
In the coming months, several emergency funds and calls for projects will be launched and made available to associations, NGOs and foundations in Africa to help in the recovery.