AU turns to football to boost policy implementation

African Union summit in Addis Ababa

Two African football legends – Kanu Nwakwo (Nigeria) and Patrick Mboma (Cameroun) – were on Saturday, at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, appointed goodwill ambassadors to drive the persuasion campaign.

The initiative, Play for the Union Campaign, was initiated by the State of the Union Coalition.

The coalition was put together following the discovery that  most governments do not comply with the union’s decisions on integration,  development and people’s rights since the establishment of the AU in 2001. 

“In terms of health, we are still struggling, in terms of education, we are still struggling, and it is not supposed to be so,” Mr. Kanu said in his appraisal of African governments.

Messrs Kanu and Mboma will each coach a team of 11 players that will monitor and evaluate African governments’ performances ahead of an ultimate football match at the June AU summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.

The 22 players to be featured in the ultimate match will be selected by the coaches through an open application process, open to people above 18 years irrespective of gender, country of origin, religion and ethnicity.

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The Play for the Union Campaign, according to the statement, seeks to provoke positive activism from ordinary urban and rural Africans by uniting and empowering African populations to put pressure on their governments.

Over 10,000 men and women are expected to participate in the campaign. The call for applications is expected to be made on February 6 in Libreville, Gabon, the host of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

The coalition work is to track and engage governments and the AU on the performance of African governments against key democratic governance, economic and social rights and civil and political rights policy standards.

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