Uganda will have to part with US$30million (about Shs110bn) for hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). According to Minister of State for Sports, Peter Ogwang, the money is paid to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as hosting fee. CAF is the body that governs football in the African continent.
He said that the money has to be paid to CAF before February 2025. He said this while presenting a statement on the floor of Parliament in regard to Uganda’s successful bid to host AFCON. Kenya and Tanzania will also pay the same hosting fee.
On 27 September 2023, CAF awarded hosting rights for the 36th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania under the East Africa joint Pamoja Bid. On top of paying the hosting fee, Uganda committed to construct two additional stadia to host the AFCON that is Akii Bua stadium in Lira and Buhinga stadium in Hoima. Government is also expected to complete the renovation and upgrading of Mandela National Stadium and secure all required funding for smooth logistical operations and delivery of the games.
While debating the motion to pay tribute to government for the successful Pamoja bid, MPs called for a doubled effort to enhance the quality of sports facilities and general infrastructural development to avoid possible international embarrassment.
“Hosting AFCON comes with immense benefits; it will bring infrastructural development like roads, sports facilities, etc and we have been looking forward to this. Therefore, I encourage government to build stadia across the region,” the mover of the motion, Hon. Santa Alum (Oyam Woman Representative) said.
Butaleja Woman Representative, Hon. Florence Nebanda called for regional balance in terms of infrastructure for inclusive participation and sports growth.
“I implore the Ministry of Education and Sports to consider regional balancing in all different regions because it will boost the economy and inspire sports fraternity in terms of training and participation,” Nebanda said.
To Hon. Elijah Mushemeza (Sheema County South), hosting AFCON is an opportunity for Uganda and East Africa to reap big through tourism and trade.
“When a country is given an opportunity to host AFCON, it is motivated and forced to improve its infrastructure. Secondly, it is a chance to improve our economy because statistically, tourism has high returns on investment,” he said.
Omoro County Member of Parliament, Hon. Andrew Oulanyah Ojok called for inclusiveness to ensure that all Ugandans benefit from the economic activities associated with hosting such an international sports event.
“Let this not be in the hands of a few individuals, but all Ugandans. Government needs to provide a sufficient roadmap on how we can guide the populace to tap into this opportunity,” Oulanyah said.
Ntungamo Woman Representative, Hon. Josyline Kamateneti, said Uganda also needs to use this opportunity to make deliberate efforts to allocate enough funds to the Ministry of Health to equip and rehabilitate regional hospitals to avoid the embarrassment of airlifting people to other countries in case of emergencies.
Hon. Moses Magogo (Budiope East County), who also doubles as the President of the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), said the excitement to host AFCON comes along with immense responsibility to execute the event especially as far as sports facilities are concerned.
“Construction of stadia must be managed under a turnkey project where you get one provider like the one for the indoor stadium in Lugogo. This same provider (Summa) did the stadium in Senegal in 17months and all they need is sovereign guarantee,” he said.
According to Magogo, this arrangement will eliminate challenges of delayed projects, laborious procurement processes, and corruption which could hamper Uganda’s readiness to host AFCON.
Minister Ogwang assured MPs of government’s commitment to the realization and delivery of AFCON 2027 by prioritizing sports infrastructure. He, however, urged the MPs to cooperate by appropriating funds to facilitate timely construction of Buhinga and Akii-Bua stadia.