“The pandemic showed us how much we need each other” - FIM Africa President Marco Comana
2020 has been a special year for everyone. In the CONU Presidents’ update series, the leaders of the FIM’s Continental Unions describe the main challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and what people could learn from these extraordinary times.
FIM Africa President Marco Comana has one word to describe the year 2020: “Shocking to say the least.”
“We started off with a face to face Council meeting in February in Johannesburg, immediately after The Board of Directors meeting held in Geneva. Then, African governments started reacting in view of the situation in Europe and the decision was taken by most federations to put their national activities to a halt, which led the CONU to postpone the three CONU sports, Motocross, Enduro and Monomarca Road Racing juniors. Some countries, especially those on the coastline, took very strong measures such as full lock downs, others like Zambia, where I live, did not lock down as it would have had detrimental effects on the daily-income earners, but instead deployed hand sanitizers, soap and water points, and distributed masks.”
The worst time with Covid-19 for Africa came when the airline connections with the neighboring countries and Europe were suspended and borders closed. “It was like doomsday”, Mr Comana describes.
In August, the activities started to resume slowly. Most of the African federations allowed club and fun day races to be organized, low, with a reduced number of spectators.
“National events were postponed, because event sponsorship was difficult to find as companies struggled. In Africa, reducing labour is usually illegal, and companies suffered instant cash flow constraints. Taxes still had to be paid, and no government support was offered.”
FIM Africa took advantage of the modern technologies in order to organise its meetings.
“CONU Council used the time to draw up a new set of GSRs for CONU events, and the entire process took place via Zoom meetings and Whatsapp. Then we held our Plenary and Commissions meetings in September via Zoom.”
FIM Africa also held its General Assembly for the first time electronically. They are now considering to use remote attendance technology also for future meetings. “Online General Assembly could be an alternative but next year we are looking forward to a face to face GA.”
Despite the challenging year, Mr Comana sees that the pandemic also enabled people to look at things from a different perspective.
“We have learned how interconnected the world has become, and how much we need each other, and how we have to look after this planet, and ourselves. We also learned not to plan too far ahead. Nevertheless, we have already drawn up our calendar with our CONU events and meetings, so let’s hope for normality in 2021.”
Mr Comana is extremely grateful for the great work volunteers, promoters and federations performed during the year.
“First we have to thank all the volunteers in the medical services frontline who selflessly put their neck on the block for us. Then, the big promoters like Dorna and Infront that made so many World Championship events happen and brought us world class racing into our homes, where everybody was. Last but not least, the federations and their clubs that raised funds through various ways for the poor community around them.”