Officials from ANOCA and the African Union signing the landmark partnership ©ANOCA

Political disputes surrounding the African Games have eased after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between sporting and Governmental bodies.

Last year's All-Africa Games in Brazzaville were organised by the Sports Council of the African Union rather than the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) after the failure of talks to reach agreement for joint organisation.

This meant the continental-wide event did not serve as a qualification event for August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, meaning a lack of interest among athletes.

A provisional agreement signed in Cairo between ANOCA, the African Union Commission (AU) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC) has been hailed as an important step towards relieving these tensions.

The African Union will keep ownership of the Games, while ANOCA will organise, manage and run them.

The AASC will be entrusted with the technical coordination.

They will be known as the "African" rather than the "All-Africa" Games.

All three groups also adopted a schedule of meetings in a bid to evaluate and plan ahead of major continental sports events.

Ivorian Lassana Palenfo (left) alongside ANOCA and African Union officials ©ANOCA
Ivorian Lassana Palenfo (left) alongside ANOCA and African Union officials ©ANOCA

A key aim involves "improving the quality and raising the level of competitiveness of the All Africa Games and participating athletes, increasing revenue and adopting concerted sponsorship and marketing strategies for the Games". 

Ensuring the event includes qualifying tournaments for the Olympics and other international competitions is another priority.

Fostering "harmony and synergy of actions" within the African Sports Movement is another aim, ensuring that the Games "attract Africa’s cream of athletes and that they are the crucible for unity and cooperation in the continent". 

"The first important thing about this agreement is that it clarifies the roles of each of our respective institutions and I am delighted to be one of the signatories as President of ANOCA," said the body's head, Lassana Palenfo.

"It was high time we brought back harmony between Governments and the Olympic Movement with a new impetus pursuant to AU and International Olympic Committee recommendations. 

"I am, moreover, happy for African youths, given that this agreement allows for a harmonisation of viewpoints and the positions of our respective governing bodies for a better organisation in Africa of sports events in general and the All-Africa Games in particular. 

"It should not be lost on us that our everyday concern is the development and fulfilment of our continent's youth."

Egypt finished top of the medals table at the 2015 All-Africa Games in Brazzaville ©Getty Images
Egypt finished top of the medals table at the 2015 All-Africa Games in Brazzaville ©Getty Images

The agreement shall take effect once it is approved by the African Union Commission chair, South African Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, a statement added.

No host has yet been named for the next African Games, scheduled to take place in 2019, although an announcement is expected in December.

Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia are among possible contenders.

A total of 54 teams competed in the 2015 edition in the Republic of Congo capital, consisting of every ANOCA member except for Morocco, who have been absent since 1987.

Sahrawi Republic, which is not an ANOCA member but is recognised by the African Union Sports Council, were also present, with this also the reason for the Moroccan absence.

An Extraordinary General Assembly of ANOCA is scheduled for November 17 in Doha during a week of Association of National Olympic Committee meetings.