The East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) has agreed to enter into a sports development and promotion deal with Mchezo- a Kigali-based African sports and entertainment development company that will drive investment and social-economic impact.
The agreement was reached Tuesday during a Round Table Conversation between the EALA, MPs representing the Inter-Parliament Games (IPG), and Mchezo under the theme “Empowering Africa Through Sports: Investing in Our Future”.
The dialogue follows the successful kick-off and participation of the ongoing 13th IPG activities held in Kigali, from December 8-18, 2023 of which Mchezo was the official EALA partner and sponsor.
The games, in many disciplines-athletics, football, Volleyball, netball, basketball, Golf, Tag of War, etc., bring together EALA members and the EAC member states National Legislatures to compete against each other. This year under the concept of having a progressive peaceful and all-inclusive EAC.
Recognizing the transformative power of sports, this round table conversation was organized by Mchezo in partnership with the East African Legislative Assembly to forge a new partnership towards this end.
The dialogue, which was also attended by the Rwanda Tennis Federation, Uganda, and Tanzania Basketball federations, aimed at delving into the critical role of sports investment in Africa’s socio-economic landscape and focusing on how governments and corporate entities can foster a thriving sports environment collaboratively.
Sports help developing countries in Africa by improving health and happiness, teaching values, and boosting the economy. Sports are another small step to making a better world.
According to the OECD for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), African governments need to create stronger policies that will incubate the sports industry while it is in its infancy stage.
OECD says that the sports sector has the capability of rapidly increasing Africa’s riches because its primary resource—1.3 billion people—possesses the raw talent that could spark a new vision for the continent.
Providing Africans with local platforms will benefit local economies, as well as nurture home-grown talent and business opportunities.
The growth of the sports sector would accommodate other industries needed to support it including hotels, infrastructure, network and communications, education, and tourism.
Ntoudi (2D) Mouyelo, the Managing Director Mchezo said that the company has, since its establishment in Rwanda in June, funds to invest in sports development and wants to push this sponsorship with a strategic plan from the EAC.
“We agreed on coming up with a strategic action plan for sports investment in Africa, to strengthen networks between government, corporate sectors, and sports entities and enhanced understanding and commitment towards sports as a tool for development,” Mouyelo said.
Mouyelo revealed that the design of the action plan (a Manifesto) will be drawn and officially presented in the next six months and this will act as a guiding document for EALA and its partners to be held accountable for the agreement made in Kigali.
Hon. Theoneste Karenzi- the President of the Rwanda Tennis Association said that sports investment is the way to go but every sporting discipline should be able to define their roles in the partnership.
“It is challenging to attract investment in tennis but we all need to define ourselves as a partner. We should seek partnership, not sponsorship, Karenzi said.
“That means we need to see the challenge from our side but also define our contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.”
Uganda Basketball Association CEO, Marcus Kwikiriza governments and investors should have a round table dialogue aimed at enabling investment in various sport.
“Sports development is the job of the government to do. If someone is going to take that burden away, why not give them something in return? Imagine if governments gave sports development a tax waiver,” Kwikiriza said.
Hon. Abbas Tarimba, who runs a Sports Betting Business (Sportpesa) and is the former Manager of Yanga SC said that there is a need for African governments to invest in sports infrastructure to attract sponsorship and sports development.
MPS reflect on IPG in Kigali:
Hon. Michael M. Kadebe, who is also President of the Tanzania Basketball Association says that they have learned business ideas from Kigali especially investment in sports infrastructure such as the BK Arena where they are now planning to construct two arenas in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma.
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (Uganda) said that they will back the partnership with Mchezo since the sporting activities bring business to nationals in the host country, especially the restaurants and hotel businesses run by EAC nationals living in Kigali but also engaging MPS has enabled implementation of sports policies in Uganda.