This article will discuss the political, economic, socio-cultural benefits that a country stands to gain for hosting the African Games.
It will also discuss Ghana’s first opportunity for hosting the Games in its 57year history and how it can leverage on some of these benefits.
To place Ghana in the limelight of sports organization in Africa, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 17th May 2018, directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to among others, bid for the right to host and organize the 13th African Games in 2023.
Subsequently, the Ministry prepared and presented a Bid to the African Union Commission. Eventually, on 25th October 2018 at a meeting of African Sports Ministers in Algiers, Algeria, Ghana won the right to host and organise the 13th African Games to be held in Accra in 2023.
The Games were created by the Political Heads of Member States of the African Union so it gives the host country the opportunity to contribute its quota to the sustainability of the organisation of the Games.
It is used by the Host Government as a means of promoting peace, unity and development on the Continent.
During the Games, people put away their political differences to come together to support their National teams.
Some of the economic benefits for hosting the African Games are Foreign Direct Investment Inflows, Job Creation, Enhancement of the hospitality, transport and tourism industries, Improvement of Sports and other related Infrastructure.
Jobs would be created before, during and after the Games. Before the Games, there would be construction of the sports facilities and other related infrastructure and this will create jobs for the citizens. For instance, in the case of Ghana, over 3000 Ghanaians have been employed by the three (3) contractors currently working on the various sites for the Games.
During the Games, the hospitality, transport, communication and tourism industries will create more jobs for Ghanaians. This is because the Athletes, officials and sports fans who will come into the country will be needing their services.
The Tourism industry would also grow after the hosting of the Games.
Ghana will be positioned to attract foreign Direct Investors after the Games.
The joy, happiness and emotional satisfaction which result from countries National teams participating in the Games will bring about social cohesion. This will also enhance productivity and can lead to an improvement in their GDP because when people are happy, they work efficiently.
All efforts are being made for Team Ghana to excel in the Games and therefore Ghana stands the chance to benefit from all these.
A major multi-sports event like the African Games can create enthusiasm and excitement among citizens. It can help promote sport participation which has lasting benefits for the nation’s health. Also, hosting the African Games can lead to a rise in volunteerism which promotes civic virtues.
The image of the city or cities used for hosting the Games gets enhanced globally. The city of Accra stands to benefit immensely from Ghana hosting the 13th African Games, Accra 2023.
The sanitation aspect of the city gets greatly improved. The road networks are also improved upon. Accra will stand to benefit from these as well.
The host country also benefits from skills and knowledge transfer. Ghana stands to benefit from the skills and knowledge transfer from IT, Marketing, Broadcasting and Hospitality.
Hosting the African Games will enable Ghana address its infrastructure deficiency and also upgrade the existing ones. By building sports infrastructure at Borteyman and upgrading the existing facilities at the University of Ghana for the African Games, Ghana will address its infrastructure deficiencies.
Additionally the hosting of the African Games creates the platform for athletes to improve their performances and showcase their talents.
For instance, when Nigeria hosted in 2003, it assisted the country to produce world class athletes winning Olympic and Commonwealth medals which Nigeria has continued to benefit up till today. Nigeria’s athletes continue to perform better at International Competitions up till now. A case in point is the recent Birmingham Commonwealth Games Tobi Amusan current World, Commonwealth and African Championship 100m hurdles record holder is worth mentioning. Ghana can also take advantage of the Games and do same.
To address the issue of legacy, the facility to be built at Borteyman would be transformed into a University of Sport for Development which will be the second of its kind in Africa.
In Conclusion, it is an established fact that despite the financial implications for hosting the Games which some people may have reservations about especially during the current Global Financial crisis which is also affecting Ghana, there is the belief that Ghana stands to benefit from hosting the African Games politically, economically and socially.