THE FIRST EIFFAGE DAKAR TOLLWAY MARATHON WILL TAKE PLACE ON 13 AND 14 FEBRUARY 2016 IN SENEGAL ON THE FIRST TOLL MOTORWAY IN SUB-SAHARAN, BUILT AND OPERATED BY THE GROUP.
2016 promises to be a great vintage for Eiffage, who will celebrate 90 years in Senegal and the end of the Dakar-Diamniadio-AIBD motorway works. A motorway of 42 km, linking the capital to Blaise Diagne Airport and whose length reminds us of the distance of a marathon; Gérard Sénac, CEO of Eiffage Senegal, soon got it into his head to organize a marathon on this route. An idea supported by Pierre Berger, Chair and CEO of Eiffage.
‘’I hope that this marathon is first open to Africans. For me, Africa is the continent of tomorrow, despite wars and conflicts, explains Gérard Sénac. Dakar is one of its entry points. We’re hoping to welcome athletes from across the continent but also from Europe and the US, as well as Group employees. We’re expecting 10,000 participants during the week-end.’’ With its patron, the IAAF president, Mr. Lamine Diack; former mayor of Dakar, this race will be the second in line of a structure designed, built and operated by Eiffage. In line with Group activities, the Eiffage Millau Viaduct Race is organized every two (2) years; a half-marathon which gathered 15,000 runners for the 3rd race held in 2014. ‘‘Sport has always been in the Group’s DNA. We support numerous local initiatives and have several sportsmen among our employees. We are organizing in particular, an internal sporting challenge, in which nearly 3,000 Group employees are taking part’’ commented Sophie Mairé, Marketing Director at Eiffage. We also have an internal voluntary group, the Eiffage Furets (Ferrets), which gathers nearly 300 runners of the Group who train and participate together in numerous races throughout the year.’’ Last January, 60 members of the association also spent a week in Senegal, devoted to sport and solidarity during which they carried out activities with young people and women in a village.
A SPORTING, SOCIAL, CIVIC AND CULTURAL DIMENSION.
Eiffage Senegal put a lot into a civic approach to the country very early on by trying to improve people’s living conditions in health, education, sustainable development, culture and sport, and being involved for 25 years in Senegalese social and civic life.’’ We are lucky to have won the international tender for the first toll motorway in sub-Saharan Africa. The reason for any company is of course to make a profit, but we should also share it with the people and in particular, young people. This is a message that we want to convey to the Senegalese’’ he continued.
The company particularly wants to help renew athletics in the country by triggering interest. ‘‘We are trying to spot young talent that can be trained and supported financially in the hope that one day, one of them will win the Paris Marathon. That would make me really happy.’’ Apart from the marathon and half-marathon on Sunday, 14 February 2016, numerous sporting and cultural events are offered on Saturday, 13 February 2016 at the Marathon Village, located at Diamniadio International Conference Centre, opened in 2014 at the 15thFrancophonie Summit. On the programme: ‘tasters’ to discover athleticswith ‘Kids Athletics’, demonstrations, meetings with champions and local associations, challenges, tournaments, races open to all, partner stands promoting sustainable development etc. ‘The Senegalese sculptor and Académie Française member, Ousmane Sow will preside over the cultural component of the marathon. Activities will also enable discussion on Francophonie, culture and sustainable development ’’ he added.
To carry out its project successfully, Eiffage hopes to mobilize a pool of local and international partners for this event. ‘‘We hope to find partners to help us organize the first great marathon of Africa for Africa. We’re looking for a sport brand that wants in particular, to create a low-cost shoe designed for Africa, as well as an aviation partner.In addition, I hope to bring together small and large companies located in Dakar.’’ However, beyond the search for partners, Eiffage wants to conserve its family spirit. ‘’Above all, we don’t want to have a commercial marathon. The idea is to reinvest the money intelligently for local people and the young; to create a marathon which has a meaning and which has our values.’’
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