Currently, the African Women Cup of Nations is being held in Cameroon. This is the biennial international football championship, which has been organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for all the African women's national teams. As with all major sporting events, a lot of focus has gone toward what it can do to boost economic growth in the country and surrounding areas.
Certainly citizens are excited. As Africa Business Magazine reports:
“The tournament is … seen as a key symbol of economic growth under president Paul Biya – who has reigned the country for 30 years – and will help push forward the country’s 2035 Vision for national development.”
Naturally, not everything is perfect, as workers have faced injuries
There has been a need for heightened security and not everyone can access the stadiums. Indeed, as many critics of stadium building have constantly pointed out, the enormous amounts of money that goes into such structures are better spent elsewhere – considering how infrequently such venues are used, how they don’t make a profit and how the pose often unnecessary dangers to workers.
Nevertheless, the goal is to drive tourism to the country and cities, ideally making enough from those areas to keep benefiting from the stadium being built. Additionally, it’s important to support initiatives that benefit women and women in sports. Considering how badly publicized women’s sport is, yet how well women do in sports for their country, hosting such events can be socially important – if not immediately economically sound.
Showing young girls there is a future for them beyond the limitations society expects can do wonders
After all, the first step toward breaking free of bad patterns for many is finding a role model. And with the number of talented sportswomen in Africa, there’s plenty who stand out. For example, Cameroon’s captain, Christine Manie scored the goal against Ivory Coast in 2015 that got the team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Thus, the focus should not be just on giving a platform for the tournament but who the tournament is for. It’s important to raise the profiles of these women, since so often their accomplishments are overlooked in favour of men. This only reinforces that false idea that men are the only athletes who exist or are worth considering.
Africa has the chance to help drive the world forward in terms of gender representation and support for women’s interests, even in areas like sport.