FIFA World Cup: How Africa Has Lost

Published on 12th June 2018

The FIFA World Cup is here again, this time in Russia. The FIFA World Cup epitomises the predicament of African economies vis-à-vis the global system. Most African vendors will not be allowed anywhere closer to the stadiums. FIFA has to protect its sponsors from the ‘illicit’ use of its private sporting event to earn profits, as hosting the event is no cheap business. For example, the cost of hosting the FIFA World Cup in Russia will reportedly exceed $14 billion, making it the most expensive football competition in history. Global brands will make most gains having positioned themselves in the whole supply chain; from ticketing, airlines, hotels, taxis and even food.

Africa’s predicament aptly captures the African producers’ situation where nil benefits are reaped unless one understands how the international system works. The upcoming absence of African traders where the market is (stadiums and hotels) is a creation of the law – not an intrinsic lack of ability to sell refreshments to football fans. Developed economies use excuses of health (phytosanitary standards) to deny African indigenous investors markets. They use taxes to prevent value added products from accessing their markets, among other regulations. While the event will make the continent to think as one, on a positive note, Africa must strategize to move away from the fate of playing second fiddle.

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