The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace since 2013. It is observed on this day every year. The day inevitably brings its attention to Africa, the continent where international sporting events predominate. On this day, the focus is on how the African Cup of Nations contributes to promoting development and peace in Africa.
The contribution of the African Cup of Nations to development
In terms of tourism, the African Cup of Nations attracts thousands of African football fans to the host country. It is an opportunity for the host country to showcase its cultural and gastronomic assets, its tourist sites, etc., and to generate more visits and tourist incomes. Moreover, among the travellers who come to the host country to attend the CAN, there are many businessmen, investors looking for profitable investment opportunities. From an investment point of view, the CAN therefore represents an opportunity to attract foreign investment. These investments thus contribute to economic growth (creation of companies and jobs, increase in GDP, etc.). These economic stakes partly explain why African governments regularly compete to organise the African Cup of Nations.
The contribution of the African Cup of Nations to peace
The African Cup of Nations also contributes to the promotion of peace between African nations. During the competition, fans from different nations communicate, get to know each other, discover each other and exchange ideas. This communication helps to break down cultural prejudices and promotes dialogue, which is a catalyst for peace. Furthermore, football is a unifying sport in multi-ethnic countries. When the national teams play, what matters for the compatriots is victory, or even qualification for the next stage of the competition. During the African Cup of Nations, community divisions and tensions are downplayed in favour of the national interest: winning the cup. From then on, religious, ethnic and social differences are of little importance. All social strata of the same country gather in the “fan zone”, in public places to support the national team. The quest for victory becomes a national goal that brings people together and annihilates any tensions that may exist.
In summary, sport is a real vehicle for promoting development and peace. This is evident in Africa through the African Cup of Nations Football Championship, one of the most followed and lucrative sports competitions on the continent.
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