Afcon 2027: Understanding the football economy

What you need to know:

  • Afcon 2027 promises a windfall of economic opportunities across various sectors.

By Kilo Mgaya

In the Swahili culture, there is the saying: “Mgeni Njoo, Mwenyeji Apone,” literally meaning let the guest come so that the host or hostess may benefit (get well).

This adage resonates deeply as Tanzania prepares to co-host the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2027 alongside Kenya and Uganda.

The question now is: how can we strategically capitalize on this opportunity rather than merely wait for it to unfold?

The government has already initiated preparations, focusing on infrastructure such as the stadium construction.

However, the true potential lies in how individuals and businesses across the nation prepare to leverage this influx of visitors and attention.  Large-scale tournaments like Afcon are not just about the ninety minutes on the field; they represent a transformative economic opportunity for the nation, particularly for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Afcon 2027 promises a windfall of economic opportunities across various sectors.

The influx of visitors, including football fans, media personnel, and officials from various countries, will undoubtedly create a surge in demand for accommodation.

Hotels and guest houses should anticipate full bookings and may even need to expand their facilities to cater to the increased demand.

This is also an excellent opportunity for locals to venture into the bed-and-breakfast business, providing unique and personalised lodging experiences for visitors.

Food and beverage businesses also stand to gain immensely from the tournament. From high-end restaurants to street food vendors (mama ntilie), the demand for diverse culinary experiences will be high.

“This is an excellent opportunity for local chefs and food entrepreneurs to introduce visitors to Tanzanian cuisine,” establishments can create special menus featuring traditional dishes, offering a taste of our culture to the world.

 Local farmers and suppliers should also get prepared to meet this increased demand, ensuring a steady supply of fresh produce and ingredients.

Nightclubs and entertainment venues will also see a boom. As visitors look to explore local nightlife, there’s a chance to showcase Tanzanian music, dance, and culture.

This is the time for musicians, DJs, and performers to shine, offering a taste of Tanzania’s vibrant entertainment scene.

Cultural tourism can be further promoted through organised events and festivals, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Tanzanian traditions, crafts, and heritage.

Additionally, this is a prime time to promote local attractions. Tour operators and travel agencies can develop tailored packages that showcase Tanzania’s rich heritage, wildlife, and stunning landscapes.

By doing so, they can ensure that visitors not only come for football but also for extending their stay to explore the beauty of our nation.

Preparations for Afcon 2027 should be comprehensive, inclusive, and strategic and should not be left solely to the government or large corporations.

Community engagement and grassroots participation are crucial. Public awareness programmes to inform citizens about the potential benefits and ways to capitalise on them should be rolled out.

Local entrepreneurs should be trained and equipped with the necessary skills to take advantage of the surge in demand for goods and services, as well as the skills needed to meet international standards of hospitality and service excellence.

With the multifaceted benefits of hosting this largest tournament on the continent, stakeholders across sectors need to align their efforts.

The concept of the “Football Economy” should be clearly understood at all levels. Stakeholders must understand the roles they can play and opportunities to grasp.

The football economy encompasses not only the direct financial gains from ticket sales and broadcasting rights, but also the indirect benefits such as job creation, infrastructure development, and the promotion of local businesses.

It’s an economy that thrives on the synergy between sports and various industries, fostering growth and prosperity.

To maximize the socio-economic impact of the tournament, collaboration between government, private sector entities, and local communities is needed.

It’s about creating a harmonious ecosystem where everyone benefits, from the small-scale vendor selling souvenirs outside the stadium to the large hotel chains accommodating international guests.

As we welcome the world to our doorstep, let’s ensure that every Tanzanian has a chance to benefit from Afcon 2027 in the spirit of ‘Mgeni Njoo, Mwenyeji Apone.’ Our neighbouring countries are equally eager to maximize the potential benefits of this tournament. We all know how competitive they can be, so we must be well-prepared.

Kilo Mgaya is a Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications, at CRDB Bank Plc and can be reached through [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are his own