The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has begun the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the continent’s biennial men’s football tournament. A lot of Cameroon businesses are trusting that the economic activities resulting from AFCON will help boost their businesses.
Thousands of football fans are trooping into Cameroon to support their national teams, bringing with them the potential for a significant economic boost. Some traders, like 23-year-old Issa Hamadou, who used to sell cooked eggs downtown Yaounde, has switched to sportswear, which he trusts 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 said.
He said he believes “the competition will generate a lot of enthusiasm. If the Lions win, the country will benefit a lot. The price of jerseys will rise, and we will make more money.”
According to Kennedy Tumenmnta, head economist at the African Business Information Bank, some Cameroon businesses are already breaking even as a result of the boost in trades as the country hosts the AFCON tournament.
According to him, the economic benefits of AFCON can be enormous.
“For example, talking to this lady who is the owner of a prominent Hotel in Yaounde, she 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”, he told DW.
Tumemnta added that, “Most of the cities that host AFCON have benefitted from not only stadiums but also road networks. It has also created jobs 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 labourers and local engineers are so huge.”
Other craftsmen, according to Tumemnta, are excited because they know tourists will visit. Hawkers and people who work in the informal industry are also thrilled.
Youths in Cameroon were given temporary jobs while stadiums and other facilities were being built across the country. A ray of hope for a country where nearly 40% of its population live in poverty.