How AFL valuable to Tanzania economy 

DAR ES SALAAM: AS the African Football League (AFL) is set to take action today, the tournament has captured the attention of economists who have highlighted the economic benefits to the country.

Among the benefits the economists highlighted are on issues of income from accommodation, food and hospitality sector generally, tourism and transport sector.

An economist-cum-investment banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo noted Tanzania stands to gain economically from hosting the AFL opening ceremony including stronger infrastructure for the next generations, a rise in tourism, income from ticket sales and Radio and TV rights, and more.

Dr Shayo noted: “International live sporting events, like the start of the Africa Football League, have a major positive economic impact at the micro level. It builds on the construction of business networks that are essential in today’s corporate world.

“Host cities will gain from a short-term and greater long-term investment that will raise their worldwide profile, growth in local employment, immediate and short-term economic benefits, and more.

“This is going to make it easier for people to share connections, values, culture, and knowledge, which has a positive cultural and economic impact on both the host city and the individuals and companies who attend the events.”

“Hosting regional spot events will give Tanzania and Tanzanian-based businesses the chance to showcase their county or city’s offerings to the world, either through first-hand experience or third-party observation in the international media.”

He added that international guests must book flights to Tanzania and to the Dar es Salaam that commonly requires travel visas, make their way from the airport to their lodging, locate dining and entertainment options, go shopping, navigate the city, and find their way to and from the event’s venue.

This activity injects much-needed capital and foreign currency into the local economy by utilising the hotels, restaurants, transportation networks, attractions, and services in the area.

The Tanzania Tourist Board’s (TTB) Director General, Damasi Mfugale also commented on the benefits of the AFL, saying the government is set to reap big from sports tourism.

He said the soccer fraternity, including media coverage, ranging from newspaper, and radio to television and digital platforms will brand Tanzania among others, due to the country’s fascinating features available, such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Tanzanians’ hospitality.

Mfugale told the ‘Daily News’ on Thursday that it is up to the citizens to show up at the matches, while also tapping emerging economic opportunities.

“We shall maintain visibility during the matches through stadium virtual adverts and other means to illuminate the tremendous tourist attractions available in the country,” he said.

Mfugale said the country’s business capital of Dar es Salaam which hosts the inaugural matches is strategically located close to Nyerere National Park and Mikumi National Park in Morogoro, Saadani National Park in Tanga, and Zanzibar Islands where there are beautiful beaches.

Tourism Expert, Dr Delphine Kessy who doubles as Director of Research, Innovation and Community Engagement at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) said the inaugural match apart from acting as the platform for refreshments also will provide income to citizens and the country.

Dr Kessy said the Simba Sports Club’s participation in the AFL will draw attention to an immense number of people in Africa and across the world to turn all eyes to Tanzania giving the opportunity for the tourism sector to prosper.

“In international football club competitions, fans view the club collectively as the country. Simba is going to strengthen our country’s image,” she said.

To ensure the participation of many football clubs in AFL in years to come, Dr Kessy said the government and stakeholders should invest in football academies to grow many talents that for the future will take the country to more international tournaments and the World Cup.

Other than the benefit Dr Shayo made a caution to the government on million attendances for the inauguration ceremony and the Sunday’s match between Esperance and TP Mazembe.

“It is crucial to keep in mind that providing millions of attendees with an international event experience necessitates not only a well-established, highly functional, and maintained public and private infrastructure but also high standards of service.

“Health monitoring procedures, safety measures, and policies, especially in the wake of Covid-19, need to be put in place to please foreign visitors and give them confidence regarding the security of their travel to and from Tanzania.

“To the best of my knowledge, creating such protocols will cost a substantial amount of money upfront, but if done wisely, the investment will pay off later by drawing in more guests and events. Long-term infrastructure improvements in Tanzania can also have a lasting effect on the region’s allure as a vacation destination, expanding the definition of tourism.”

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