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Fifa, AFD join forces to promote women’s, school football in Africa

Fifa, football’s global governing body, has signed a landmark cooperation agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD) to promote the women’s game and develop school football across Africa.

The deal has been signed in Paris ahead of the start of the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France and is designed to use football as a vehicle for education, development and social change. The agreement was signed by Fifa president Gianni Infantino and AFD chief executive Remy Rioux.

Fifa will work with the AFD to implement various social projects related to football, including the development of women’s football and the Football for Schools Programme. The AFD will promote women’s participation in sport and help implement Fifa’s new strategy for women’s football.

Fifa aims to reach over 700 million girls and boys through its Football Schools Programme, through which it will invest $120m (€107m) over the next four years to make the sport more accessible for children around the world.

With the AFD, Fifa will combine resources and implement joint programmes to promote football as a sport for all, along with socio-educational projects and equality in football. The two parties will also invest in local infrastructure, with initiatives to be carried out alongside existing programmes by the AFD and ongoing projects in member associations.

Rioux said: “This compelling agreement is already paving the way for inventive solutions on the ground such as ‘playdagogy’ projects designed to ensure that young Africans will not only benefit from the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, but also become key advocates of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).”

The agreement has been signed after French President Emannuel Macron outlined equality between men and women as the great national objective of his five-year term, with the AFD’s ‘100% social link’ strategic objective leading the fight against gender equality.

Fifa launched its first-ever global strategy for women’s football back in October. The strategy outlines how it can work with confederations and members to grow the women’s game and has set the goal of having 60 million female players by 2026.

Other plans include the introduction of a women’s Club World Cup, an increase in the number of youth development tournaments and a women’s Fifa futsal event.

Infantino has today (Wednesday) been re-elected as Fifa president for a further four years.