The IOC has been traveling in Africa to visit cities vying to host the Games, and since May 8 has met with bid officials in Gaborone, Botswana and Abuja in Nigeria. Delegates will further tour Dakar in Senegal before leaving Africa on May 20.
Tunis in Tunisia also submitted interest in hosting the Games, but those discussions have been put on hold by the IOC until the ban of Israeli athletes from entering the country to participate in competitions has been stepped back.
The IOC opened the 2022 Youth Olympics earlier this year only to nations in Africa, giving the continent an exclusive opportunity to host its first Olympic event in history.
Representatives of the IOC on the tour of African candidates have included Antoine Goetschy, the Associate Director of the Youth Olympic Games, and Olympic Games advisor Gilbert Felli
The Nigerian delegation included the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade, the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) President, Habu Gumel and other sports officials.
Dalung said “I want to commend the IOC for developing a mechanism for Africa to be taken along through the changes introduced in the organization of the Youth Olympics.”
“I want to assure you that the capacity of the country to deliver is not in doubt. We will ensure that we package a brand of the Youth Games, which after 2022 will set an agenda for the IOC to emulate.
“Abuja is ready to host because we have hosted international competitions in the past. Moreover, the IOC has emphasized that countries seeking to host the games should not build new structures but improve on their existing ones or make use of temporary facilities, which will be dismantled after the Games.
“We have the organizational capacity, the experience and the technical know-how to host.”
Goetschy said “We are here to see what you have to propose and to show you an overview of what we want in a host city.”
“The objective of our visit is for the proposing host nation to understand the strategic alignment and stakeholders engagement and the potential operational footprint.”
The IOC Evaluation Commission will select final candidates this summer and produce an evaluation report and a recommendation for the IOC Executive Board. The final host city choice will then be ratified at an IOC Session in Buenos Aires in October ahead of the 2018 edition of the Youth Olympics in the Argentine Capital.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.