This week, the National Institute of Statistics (NISR) released estimates about the national unemployment rate which stands at 16.7 percent as of February this year.
The stats follow a labor force survey done by the NISR in partnership with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour which indicates youth unemployment rate among young person’s 16 to 30 years old stands at 21 percent.
Well, I think this rings a bell to stakeholders in the sports industry who should be asking themselves what role they’re playing after looking at the statistics because the power of sports should play part in nation building.
We all acknowledge that sports industry is capable of employing and paying millions both directly and indirectly, not just only to national team athletes in Rwanda.
Last year alone, over Rwf 16 billion was said to have been spent on sports infrastructure and other activities in order to host the fourth edition of Africa Nations Champions tournament (CHAN).
Being the biggest investor in the industry, Government alone cannot help matters. However, the private sector should also step in by creating partnership with government, and by so doing, they will build synergy to achieve better results.
Some corporate companies like commercial banks, beverage producers, manufacturers, telecommunication companies to mention but a few, have been there by injecting funds in some annual sports calendar events and competitions in football, tennis, athletics, motorsport, cycling or tennis.
In 2015, Tanzania’s Azam TV signed a deal worth $2.35 million to buy broadcasting rights to broadcast the Rwanda Premier League for the next five years.
Local cement manufacturer (CIMERWA) was proud to be associated with golf when they invested over Rwf30 million in the game as part of social corporate responsibility initiative.
Such corporate companies and others, have tried to play a role in sponsoring sports in the country. In such a way, they support and advocate for sports development and youth employment.
Perhaps, we need to show some gratitude since such initiatives tend to offer employment both directly and indirectly when companies offer a return to society through sports.
On the other hand, Government also should consider offering and introducing tax incentives or tax breaks to attract corporate companies to invest in sports activities for the industry to flourish and offer more and decent job opportunities to the youth.