Last year, Zambia put its hat in the ring to bid for the right to host the 2019 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Last week, Confederation of African Football (CAF) inspectors were in the country to assess Zambia’s facilities. The decision as to which country will host the 2019 as well as the 2021 edition of the competition will be announced next month at a meeting of the CAF executive in Cairo. So what happens IF they choose Zambia’s bid?
*THE ESTIMATES BELOW ARE CONSERVATIVE AND BY NO MEANS EXHAUSTIVE – THEY ARE MEANT TO GIVE GENERAL PICTURE OF WHAT HOSTING AFCON 2019 COULD BE LIKE FOR ZAMBIA.*
Costs to host
1. Road, Railway and Air
Road infrastructure is already being expanded or upgraded through the $5.8bn Link 8,000 project. This will go a long way in connecting the country as well making it more efficient to travel even before 2019. Rail and air infrastructure are also being refurbished. This means that infrastructure related spending will be cut down significantly from what it could’ve been.
Estimated cost: N/A
2. Stadia and training facilities
Zambia needs at least four quality stadia to host the games which will be played over a period of three weeks by 16 teams; from the group stages all the way to the final. They already have two wold-class stadia in Heroes and Levy Mwanawasa which have capacities of 60,009 and 40,100, respectively. Heroes cost $94m and Levy cost $65m to build. According to recent statements by the Vice President and Minister of Youth and Sport, a new stadium will be built in Livingstone and Konkola stadium will be rehabilitated and upgraded from a capacity of 15,000 to more than 20,000. Training pitches would also need to be upgraded in and around host cities for various teams to use.
Estimated cost: $140m (New 40,000 capacity stadium $70m + Konkola upgrade $30m + Training pitch upgrades $20m + $20m miscellaneous)
3. Running the tournament
In 2013, South Africa spent $53.5m to organize and run the actual event – everything from the opening/closing ceremonies to paying referees and other hosting related costs. Now, taking into account the high cost of doing business in the country, SA being a more developed economy (which had just hosted the World Cup in 2010) as well as the fact that this will be the first time an event of this magnitude will be organized in Zambia, the cost could be 20 – 30 percent higher than what it cost South Africa.
Estimated cost: $70m (various hosting costs)
Total estimated cost: $210m
Benefits of hosting
4. Visitor spending
International visitors will flock to the country with cash to spend in whichever cities they decide to stay in. We’ve tried to put a conservative value on the potential income which could be generated from visitors in the following chart (with assumptions below chart):
Spending could increase by more than 30 percent because estimates have not taken into account entertainment, shopping, services (banking, Forex bureau), roaming charges etc., as well as the spending to be done by the domestic population. Zambians would definitely have more braiis (chicken, T/bone, Goat) and beverages (Soft drinks, Mosi, Castle, Chibuku) than usual – Christmas bonuses would probably be stretched to cover January spending as well!
Estimated benefit: $171m from visitor and citizen spending
5. Job creation
As of 2013, Zambia officially had 73,991 hospitality rooms available – generally, a lot more rooms are required and should be constructed countrywide over the next few years. Temporary and permanent jobs would be created leading up to and during the tournament as well as afterward. The job creation would be a fantastic return on investment for a country that is struggling with youth unemployment.
Estimated benefit: Thousands of temporary and permanent jobs created
Total estimated benefit: $171m and thousands of temporary and permanent jobs created
After the tournament
6. Tourism boost
Successfully hosting the event would also enhance Zambia’s global image and reputation which could be a platform for future endeavors. This would be a huge boost to the tourism sector which could potentially have 65,000 repeat clients in the long term.
7. Maintenance costs
The biggest concern will be maintenance costs associated with new stadia. Our local football leagues are currently not strong enough to consistently attract 20,000-plus fans every week to generate revenue to cover maintenance costs. Could they be by 2019? Stadium operators will have to be innovative in finding ways for various stadia to earn money otherwise they risk becoming worn down and dilapidated objects.
What is your take? What other benefits/costs should be included?
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *