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AFCON 2019: Advancing fairplay in Africa

Author: Gabriel Tabona
Copyrights: Gabriel Tabona

AFCON 2019: Advancing fairplay in Africa

Taking a look at how the Africa Cup of Nations can inspire a boost in local economies and businesses, and promote a strengthening of the infrastructures in place for individual empowerment.

As 24 of the best national teams from Africa gather in Egypt for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the spotlight is cast on the continent’s inequalities.

Various issues that call for fair play continue to emerge. On matters of foreign direct investment, for example, various interest groups continue to call for policy action to ensure multinational firms don’t exploit host communities; something that was occasioned by the liberalisation of markets leading to the death of budding industries in Kenya.

As part of the legacy project of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a football centre was set up in Gauteng by global sports apparel company Nike to provide a conducive environment for locals to interact. Perhaps this was also to prove that besides their commercial activities in the country, their positive impact should be felt by the surrounding residents.

The pulse of any country’s development is entrenched in its workforce, yet many talented Africans prefer practicing their skills in foreign lands due to unfavorable conditions in their native countries. Just as doctors in Kenya prefer working in United States, local footballers head to Europe to showcase their prowess in well managed leagues and clubs for better pay, which leads to “brain drain”.

All this trickles down to the credibility and relevance of education and its supporting mental and physical infrastructure, leaving the Confederation of African Football (CAF) with no choice but to review its coaching curriculum that has seen the creation of a CAF Pro license level. These are geared towards not only equipping African coaches with new knowledge but also reducing the influx of foreign coaches thus bridging the gap with other confederations, a matter that generates debate on the pay-gap issue between locals and expatriates across all sectors.

While Kenya’s devolution system, under the new constitution is being put in place to bring services closer to the people, integrity becomes a key principle under which it can win the confidence of investors. With proper mechanisms in place, the impact of the decentralisation of basic services will be felt. African governments keen on devolution can take a cue from FIFA’s ambitious programme of decentralising its functions by setting up regional offices across Africa.

AFCON 2019 should in itself be a cornerstone for deep reflections where pan-Africanism can inspire fair governance in the continent.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 16:00