The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced the launch of the inaugural WBSC African Summit 2017, WBSC’s first-ever conference of its kind is being organised to review and best harness baseball and softball’s increasing participation rates and popularity across the African continent.
The three-day summit will be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 5-7 May and will gather high-ranking officials from the WBSC, the African Baseball and Softball Association (ABSA), and 20 national governing bodies.
The agenda of the WBSC Africa Summit 2017 will focus on baseball and softball continental development across all age-groups, with a particular emphasis on driving youth and women’s expansion in the bat-and-ball team sport to unprecedented levels.
A total of 33 African delegates and representatives from the WBSC will be present in Johannesburg, including President Riccardo Fraccari.
Baseball and softball’s return to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 has led to an increased global interest in both sports and attracted significant new funding, especially in emerging baseball and softball territories.
“To reach the next stage of becoming a major global sportand position baseball and softball as long-term Olympic events, Africa can and will play a key role to realising these objectives,” said WBSC President Fraccari, “and this is why we are staging this WBSC Africa Summit. Baseball and softball have never been as popular across the globe as they are today, and I look forward to meeting with ABSA, our National Federation Members and delegates across the continent to sustain these positives trends in our sport.”
With 65 million athletes in over 140 countries worldwide, the WBSC is now aiming to harness growing enthusiasm and access to resources in Africa to help achieve its ambitious development goals.
Africa is a key continent for the implementation of these wide-ranging goals, which include providing financial and practical support and guidance in training, coaching and umpiring in conjunction with National Federations, as well as venue construction, the establishment of new clubs and school and community projects.
To help the WBSC achieve their goals, the organisation has created a Development Commission and a Youth Commission, which together with the Executive Committee of the WBSC, has created comprehensive Development Programmes officially launched earlier this year.