Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General of FIFA and the most powerful woman in the sports industry according to Forbes, is one of the headline names in the first speaker lineup announcement for the inaugural World Football Summit Africa, which will be held in Durban (South Africa) on March 17th and 18th 2020.
Samoura joined FIFA in 2016 after a long career at the United Nations, where she earned the acclaim of those involved in worldwide diplomacy thanks to her work leading development projects around the world.
She is the first woman to hold FIFA’s Secretary General role and the most influential African figure (male or female) in worldwide football.
In the summer of 2019, Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, named her General Delegate for Africa. Since then, she has been working alongside the African Football Confederation (CAF) directors to improve efficiency and to raise the governance standards of African football’s ruling body.
Samoura is the headline name of the first speaker lineup announcement, which includes global and regional industry leaders such as LaLiga President, Javier Tebas, Argentinian football legend Juan Sebastián Verón, who currently serves as Chairman of Estudiantes de La Plata, and Danny Jordaan, President of the South African Football Association (SAFA).
As is the norm at WFS, the platform where all the football industry stakeholders come together, representatives from clubs, leagues and federations will be joined by executives representing the leading brands and companies that are linked to the industry such as AB-Inbev, Facebook, MTN, Nielsen or YouTube, to name a few.
This ground-breaking event will bring together 1,200 attendees and over 80 speakers in the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) and will tackle some of the most relevant topics in the industry, such as digital transformation, the explosion of OTT in the audiovisual market or the growth of women’s football.
There will also be focus on matters that are specific to the region, such as the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which will have taken place 10 years previously, or the challenge of strengthening local leagues in order to compete with the top European competitions.
Football as a tool for social development, a theme that has always been relevant at WFS, will carry even more weight in this edition. Amongst the confirmed speakers are Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, the founder of Malaika, a non-profit aimed to empower Congolese girls, and Marcus McGilvray, founder of WhizzKids United, an inspiring NGO that uses football to deliver health education and tackle HIV in South Africa and Ghana.
As WFS director Jan Alessie points-out, “Africa is a continent where there is a passion for football like few others and we believe that behind this passion and truly genuine way of experiencing sport, there are great business opportunities that can benefit both the companies involved in this sector and the general population.
“With the launch of WFS Africa, we hope to contribute to the strengthening of an industry that benefits all of society.”
According to data from Nielsen, Africa is the continent where football is followed with the greatest interest; Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa are the three countries in the world where the beautiful game is played the most.
This first edition of WFS Africa is the second step in the internationalisation of World Football Summit, which launched WFS Asia in April 2019 in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
WFS Africa will be the first of the four WFS events announced for 2020.
It’ll be followed by the Football Innovation Forum, which will be held on May 29, 2020 in Istanbul (Turkey), by WFS Asia, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in July, and by WFS20, the flagship event, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary on September 23rd and 24th in Madrid.
By Shane Matsoyane