AfCFTA & Africa’s Sports Industry


Impact Of AfCFTA On Africa’s Sports Industry

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad



Amid global economies, sports industry reached a value of nearly US$488.5 billion in 2018, and Africa is one of the biggest contributors especially in TV consumption, merchandises and exporting (acquisition) of talent, that now estimated to be worth over $500 billion and expected to reached $614.1 billion by 2022.


This statistical analysis show influence of the trade of sports in economic policies as calculated by World Trade Organisation, European Economic Area agreement, UK’s Brexit deal calculation, and the African Union – AU- African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA agreement.


Africa has played a much more prominent role in the  success of sporting activities, supply chain and all types of its value chain, and is globally recognised by Brookings and McKinsey. There is a saying in business that companies don’t compete, supply chains compete. African sports communities are helping companies see the real possibilities around that ethos.

Africa sports industry is just growing and facing its unique sorts of challenges declining it progresses, but who knows if AfCFTA is here to remedy the situation.


The African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA is widely regarded as the largest free trade zone on earth in terms of countries participation, that shows uniqueness toward achieving holistic business success of African Economic Community-AEC. The process which started as part of the early propositions of the Organisation Of African Unity OAU to unify accessibility to African markets for easier transactions within the continent and free movements for both goods and peoples.  With influence of sports industry’s quota the continent start to bear single citizenship and loving the interested one peaceful African market and society. Which saw African leaders coming with one voice, with the mission to create a Africa Free Trade Area by 2017 which in 2015 agreed to commence negotiations.


The agreement initially aims removing tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing access to commodities, goods and services across the continent and the sports businesses affected by the increments of tariffs year after year by government authorities at all levels that hijacked investment. UNECA estimated that the agreement will boost intra-African by 52% by 2022 with sports value and supply chain contributing significantly.


Sporting organisations and companies around the world are already studying the agreement, in order to design means to sustain these generated revenue in Africa, both from trade in goods and trade in services. Mapping out there old-age challenges and position AfCFTA as tool to provide an answer to there sports business crisis for the overseas suppliers and investors to the sports market in Africa.


Non-Tariffs  Barriers NTBs have the potential liability to perfect the needful of Africa sports industry when fully implemented as design. Will aid in perfect delivery of transportation provision, uniform supply (kits), streaming services, mobile viewing and virtual reality. Sports business will strategically boom on three digits scale and also increases employment rate.

The sports business community Africans wants and looking for may be coming out of AfCFTA but how could be realistic and achievable? The Africa’s sports industry is expected to be  impacted by AfCFTA, whether positively or negatively, but if the industry will make some x-rays to find out and provides the lights and paths the industry should followed, looking by the new continental trade policy. sports as a trade will never pretend to be out of the basket but neither the biggest fish in the aquarium so will be a time closer to be if yet the industry is undecided as agreement hope come into existence and began operating on 1st January, 2021.


Sporting goods are endangered materials in Africa, there’s no perfect free safe movement and utilisation even by experts. The diaspora engagement in the agreement which expected to assisted in structuring and constituting one African market can disturb process more especially the sports business since the agreement is targeting to saw an AfCFTA nationals with single same passport, utilisation of made in Africa sporting goods, open borders and championing unity of Africa the business of sports and recreations.


Africa have been a market for global sports fraternity and go to source for talents since time immemorial layering down opportunities for talent spotters, scouters, agents and those that broker the potentials of African sporting materials(talents) to the world and becoming a constraints to target for processing mean strategic action for boosting different target economy through sports industry as the industry is co-joined with major financial sectors and business industries, from entertainment, health, technology, horticulture, arts, tourism etc…


Sports trade linkages partnerships, infrastructure, finance and trade information targeted to sustained logistic services and products positioning and marketing, which can leads to 100% involvement of private enterprises not government in provision of easement to the African economies through the influence that AfCFTA may drive for sports industry in the continent.


The sports industry in Africa have more anticipation from AfCFTA, looking by the laid trade protocols that’s given the industry a greener lights with future opportunities both from the goods and services angles. Transparency in services regulation will allow the industry to source and managed overseas talents with mutual recognition standards, licensing will help data banking of the business individuals and controls, certification of services suppliers can give updates of individuals that are still in the sport business development and vice-versa as progressive liberalisation of every industry especially sports will help in provisions of equity for general security exception and ease of doing sports trades.


The trade remedies for the infant growing sports industries in Africa is framing the tactical strategy to figure out solutions of the buried sports challenge in the continent e.g corruption and funding, by trying to catch-up with the sports sector generated yearly revenue from areas like North America through eliminating duties, provision of standard good and services with increase in revenue and quantities restrictions on imports that leads to inflation of non-generated expenses and uncontrollable market crisis and disruption as mandated by AfCFTA.


Most experts agreed that the impact AfCFTA on sports industry is going to be an astonishingly positive after studying the framework and implementation stages. From design gigs of AfCFTA we will observe that this agreement will facilitate intra-African investment, anti-competitive challenge for majorly the sports sector, support African industrialisation that will halt external resources (sporting goods & talents) and better finance sports development, trade transits and facilitation.


AfCFTA is progressive liberalisation of services, sports services suppliers will have access to the markets of all African countries on terms not less favourable than domestic suppliers and sports trade policy framework. Making it easier for businesses and individuals to satisfy the regulatory requirements of perfect operations in each others’ countries with equity and respect.


AfCFTA will come into limelight of sports as a big influential business with hollow echo of empty or partially filled sporting infrastructure, highlights the critical need for the industry to be hugely supported by AfCFTA even as an industry that has the potential of delivery of recreations and therapeutic procedures and products. With the pandemic likely to remain a major challenge throughout 2021, halted the most or major chains (sports & supply chain) from venue, events, logistics, merchandises, fans, and the performance. It is important also for sports organizations to invest in multichannel digital solutions (everything from streaming platforms and augmented or virtual reality to artificial intelligence and “virtual fans”) that can influence fan behavior and boost their level of year-round engagement. It’s likely no longer sufficient simply to host a stand-alone app, website, or social media account; they’re all important, and they should be tightly integrated across channels especially for growing economy like Africa.


Despite some positive developments in 2020, the fact remains that systemic racism, bias, and discrimination is rising and Africa is the most diverse continent with different racial background, so the question is: “Does AfCFTA have an answer to racial discrimination?” Sports organizations across Africa should make social justice an essential component of their culture and brand—now and also become pacesetters towards making one friendly global and African sports family and business.


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