WINDHOEK – Despite reasonable growth in various facets of the local sports fraternity, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is not entirely satisfied with the overall contribution sport makes to the country’s GDP.
Speaking at the launch of the first ever Namibia Annual Sport Expo in Windhoek last Thursday, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said although the Namibian sports fraternity currently employs more 15 000 people, the sector’s contribution to the country’s economic growth somehow remains deficient – thus more needs to be done in that regard.
Globally, specifically in Europe, recent statistics show that the sport sector accounts for almost 1, 76 percent of the European Gross Value Added (GVA = Gross Domestic Product + subsidies – (direct, sales) taxes) that means it contributes more to the union’s economy than agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined.
Additionally, the European labour market of sport related employment represents 2, 12 percent of the total employment in Europe, which are about 4, 5 million sport-related jobs. The largest number of sport jobs in Europe can be found in Germany, which is about 1.15 million sports jobs. As per statistics, the runner-up is the UK with more than 610,000 sports jobs followed by France with more than 400,000 sport related jobs.
More recently, the European Commission stated that the sport sector has proved to be especially resilient during tough economy crisis, which makes it even more important for the European economy and attractive to job seekers.
Against that backdrop, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is convinced the Namibian sport sector has economic potential to become a serious contributor to the country’s growth economically, especially in areas of creating sport related jobs, products and becoming self-sustainable.
Although the PM admitted that more needs to be done from the side of government, particularly around adequate funding, strengthening human capital and safeguarding good governance, she maintained that government recognizes the vital role sports can play in society and thus continues to prioritise sport in its various national development plans.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila referenced to the country’s 5th National Development Plan (NDP5), under which Chapter 3 deals with “Empowering People and Communities through Sport” and in section 3.3.5, NDP5 targets to improve Namibia’s opportunities to participate in professional sport with the aim of increasing the sector’s contribution to employment creation from the 0.2 percent recorded in 2014 to an envisaged two percent by the year
“It (NDP5) aims to build human capacity to expand organised sport and also upgrade and construct sports facilities throughout the country to enable wider access to sport in both rural and urban areas. Effective governance as espoused in the Harambee Prosperity Plan aims to strengthen governance across all sectors, including institutions governing sport. As it currently stands, the Namibian sports sector employs about 15,000 people, including players, administrators,
manufacturers of sport gears and various service providers within the local sports fraternity. The sector, however, continues to lag behind in many respects as its contribution to the country’s GDP is still well below its potential. Sports has great potential to create more employment. The sector is acknowledged globally to have a greater economic potential and is being promoted to encourage social cohesion, create employment and alleviate poverty and reduce crime,” highlighted the PM.
“In that respect, we recognize the importance of sports to which I believe that our sports men and women see themselves as we see them, as a crucial component of our narrative of national progress... Our sportsmen and women show commitment to excellence in various sport codes and continue to portray acceptable standards. I am certain that, sports promotion through events such as the Sports Expo, would help us to draw greater numbers of our youth into sport and prepare these young people to participate in the international competitions, where our national sports identity is further enhanced.”