Abhishek Sengupta

Entrepreneur | Author | Podcaster

AFCON : A New Dawn For Africa

AFCON : A New Dawn For Africa

International events are quite important for businesses across the globe. One such event is AFCON. The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Africa’s men’s football championship organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has begun its 33rd edition. The Africa’s largest international football tournament, has returned after a nearly three-year absence. The last time Afcon was held was in the summer of 2019, so some of Africa’s best players, as well as their supporters, have had a long 18-month wait, leading to much anticipation and excitement.

Even before the first ball is kicked, the AFCON soccer tournament is reviving Cameroon’s businesses. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to visit Cameroon to cheer on their national teams, bringing with them the possibility of an economic boost for local businesses. Some locals are already changing careers, such as 23-year-old Issa Hamadou, who used to sell boiled eggs in Yaounde. Because of the upcoming football event, he has turned to sportswear and believes it will be a profitable business once the games begin. “I sell jerseys like those of Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast— in fact, the jerseys of all 24 countries participating in this year’s AFCON,” Hamadou told in an interview with DW.

According to Kennedy Tumemnta, chief economist at the African Business Information Bank, some businesses are already profitable. He predicted that the economic benefits of AFCON would be enormous. Tumemnta stated that other artisans are excited because they know tourists will visit. Hawkers and those working in the informal sector are also excited and will be benefited economically.

The building of stadia and other infrastructures across the country provided some temporary employment to young people in Cameroon. Nearly 40% of the population in this country lives below the poverty line. Tumemnta further added that most of the cities that host AFCON have benefitted from not only stadiums but also road networks. It has also provided employment for some young people. However, although most of the companies that constructed some of this sports infrastructure were foreign companies, we think that the economic fallouts for the laborers and local engineers are so huge.

A lady who is the owner of a prominent Hotel in Yaounde, said before the beginning of AFCON, she has already hosted one of the teams that is going to raise a revenue for two weeks of approximately $24,000 (€21,000), an amount that she didn’t make for the whole 2020-2021 year due to the pandemic

Aside from insecurity in some areas of the country, there are concerns about stadium readiness. Beginning January 12, the Limbe Omnisport Stadium will host matches from Group F, which includes Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, and Gambia.

Inspite of challenges, AFCON offers some of the finest economic opportunity to the African nations and their people.