Tokyo, Japan - Japan International Cooperation Agency ("JICA") and Sony Corporation ("Sony") today announced that they will jointly host public viewing*1 events in Côte d'Ivoire during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, at which Côte d'Ivoire will be an Africa representative. Côte d'Ivoire is one of the world's leading football nations, and is set to face Japan in the countries' opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, which kicks off on June 14th.
JICA believes that football has the power to uplift and give hope to the people of Côte d'Ivoire, which is currently walking on the path towards reconstruction and rebuilding of their nation. Côte d'Ivoire has been struggling with social and economic turmoil since the 1990s. During such a period of unrest, football has always been the source of hope that enabled people to envisage peace and reintegration.
In December 2005, they secured a place for Côte d'Ivoire in the FIFA World Cup of the following year, the players sat down at the pitch and appealed for peace towards their fellow nationals. In 2011, after putting an end to its 20-year-long turmoil and civil war, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire established the “Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” to which the Ivorian football superstar Didier Drogba was invited as a member. The government of Côte d'Ivoire focuses its national reconstruction efforts on creating a society where the former enemies can live harmoniously. JICA supports this effort of “social cohesion” by assisting the restoration of public trust at the community level and the integration of the country's division between the North and the South*2 *3.
Sony has been engaging in various efforts around the world to support children and communities facing social issues such as poverty and conflict, together with partners such as international organizations and NGOs. Furthermore, from a business perspective, Africa is a region of growing importance, where delivering enjoyment through football in order to enhance Sony's presence and engage with local communities is also a key marketing initiative.
This series of free, outdoor public viewing events will be held within communities including those without access to electricity and rarely have the opportunity to enjoy television due to the lack of infrastructure, and are intended to mainly attract children and young people. At the venues, audio and video equipment provided by Sony will be used to project football matches in hi-definition on 200-inch screens. With the support of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association)*4, of which Sony is an Official Partner, the public viewings will show live or recorded Côte d'Ivoire matches from this year's FIFA World Cup™ as well as major Côte d'Ivoire team games from the past. Sony will also be providing its own power supply system to deliver power to areas without electricity, leveraging its olivine-type lithium-ion iron phosphate rechargeable batteries and control technology for energy storage module systems to power the screenings. Sony's audio and video equipment such as its SHAKE Home Audio system - developed with inputs from African consumers and perfect for outdoor events - will also be used to enhance the screenings*5, while Sony engineers will provide on-site technical support.
In the public viewing events, JICA, as a part of its technical cooperation projects, will organize a series of programs such as quizzes and plays, aiming to promote social cohesion, in which the local youths and children, the leaders of the next generation, will play the lead roles. Moreover, friendly matches between the “mixed” teams combining members across different social groups are also to be arranged in order to re-build the bond between them.
For Sony, a company committed to inspiring and fulfilling the curiosity of people around the world, these public viewing events are an opportunity to enhance its brand recognition and generate interest in its products among local communities, while at the same time cultivating the dreams and passion of the people of Côte d'Ivoire by delivering their national team's performances to communities across the country. On the other hand, JICA intends to accelerate its effort in supporting the country's social cohesion and the rebuilding of the communities which experienced conflicts and division, with the help of Sony's high-skill technology and the uplifting power that football can bring to the people.
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, 10 public viewing events are planned to be held among local communities in cities including the largest city, Abidjan, and the capital city, Yamoussoukro, and are expected to attract approximately 8,000 participants. JICA and Sony will be harnessing their respective expertise and working together to deliver an unforgettable experience to the people of Côte d'Ivoire of embracing the shared passion of football as one.