Sports stimulate sustainable economic activities — Minister
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, says sports are not only for recreational purposes but can also be used to stimulate economic activities.
Dare made this known on Thursday in Lagos at a Sports Diplomacy Colloquium organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
According to the minister, sports are too important in their roles and have to be considered as businesses.
This, he said, would require all the inputs and collaborations that developed and sustained businesses that not only created economic expansion but also continued to make impactful social interventions in our society.
Dare said the sports sector in Nigeria was at its current stage at this point today because of partnerships and collaborations that had been out in place.
“We have tried to move away from just sponsoring sporting events to doing what is truly sports development and each of us is a critical stakeholder in sports as diplomacy and business.
“We need to make the transition from sports as recreation to sports as a business that will deliver all round value and ensure sustainable development and incremental growth.
“Sports as a business is the only framework that makes development sustainable and strong,” he said.
He further said that for sports to have the power to impact the sociocultural and political lives of citizens, it must be sustainably curated and able to decimate the barriers that existed between the brothers and sisters of countries around the world.
Also, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, Director General, NIIA, said sports was not simply an instrument of diplomacy but also an instrument of peace and security.
In his remarks, he said sports ruled the world, adding that the essence of sports diplomacy was not monopoly but sharing.
Osaghae said there were formal and informal ambassadors, stressing that sportsmen and sportswomen were ambassadors of Africa and the black race at large.
“Many sportsmen need no introduction and can do things in furtherance of our constitutive interest.
“Therefore, we must rediscover and re-energise Africa using the greatest instrumentality we have, sports. It is natural to us and changes the narrative of our world,” the DG said.
Idy Uyoe, a sports scholar and Principal Consultant, Idy Sports Group, said sports had the power to change the world and unite people.
He noted that sports could be used to achieve certain national objectives including destination development, image reconstruction, commercial appeal, among others.
He said: “Sport is a very powerful tool for diplomacy and achieving policy objectives.
“The global sport marketplace will soon reach one trillion dollars in value and as a result of this, the sport sector must be approached with the same seriousness as banking, oil and gas, manufacturing and mining.”
Uyoe added that for a nation to thrive with sports, it must first conduct an audit of its destination brand image to know how to commercially leverage opportunities.
“The sport marketplace is crowded, therefore, know your destination value and understand your worth,” he said.
According to him, any sport initiative or policy must involve and benefit local stakeholders because they are key.