Pope Francis sends good wishes to All Africa Games
Pope Francis has used his Sunday Angelus appeal to send, among other messages, good wishes to the All Africa Games currently taking place in Congo Brazzaville.
“Two days ago the eleventh Africa games opened in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, involving thousands of athletes from all over the (African) continent. I hope that this great sports festival will contribute to peace, brotherhood and the development of all countries of Africa. We greet the Africans who are participating in these games,“ said Pope Francis on 6 September.
Africa’s 54 countries are currently converged in what is known as the birth place of the All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. Over 7,000 athletes are competing in over 20 sports disciplines that include Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Fencing, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Karate, Judo, Swimming, Taekwondo, table Tennis and Beach Volleyball among others.
The President of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso officially opened the pan-Africa Games in the sparkling purpose-built Kintele Stadium. The games in Brazzaville, for the first time, are being held under the auspices of the African Union (AU) which is celebrating its golden anniversary as an organisation.
The games which started on 4 September will end on the 19 September 2015.
The All-Africa Games (AAG) are a continental multi-sports event held every four years, a year before the Olympic Games. They are seen as a major rendezvous for African athletes. In fact, they are a milestone in preparations for the Olympic Games as they are an opportunity for the continent’s athletes to express their potential.
Pope Francis’ Angelus appeal comes when he himself is preparing for his first visit to Africa in November. The visit has been confirmed by the Bishops of Kenya. The Pope is expected to visit Kenya, Uganda and the conflict-ridden Central African Republic.
Many analysts have said that Africa needs peace in order for it to maximise its potential as a continent. It has often been acknowledged that Africa, in general, is a land of rich resources. The continent has one of the highest economic growth rates in the world yet beyond GDP and economic indicators, the reality is that it is equally a land of endless conflicts, hunger, corruption and poverty. As one Kanayo Nwanze told African Union leaders, last year, in the UK Guardian newspaper, Africa is also a continent that is “prey to foreign exploiters.”
(Paul Samasumo, VR)