This week the city of Francistown hosts the local mini-Olympics, the competitions of youth of all sporting codes in Botswana, which attracts over 1,000 athletes, not including volunteers and officials.
All things being equal an event of this magnitude being hosted for a week or two should spell significant economic spinoffs for Francistown.
Transport to the games, food and lodging, expenditure on consumables and fast moving foods and beverages, would all ensure that after a week or two, the impact of such a huge event is felt across the various sectors of the Francistown economy, including the transport industry and the hawkers.
It is with this potential economic spin-offs in mind that the organisers, when they plan such events, they deliberately ensure that the budget for such an event also include lodging and dining at the local hospitality facilities.
A situation whereby classrooms and schools’ dining halls are used for such events unfortunately betrays the whole objectives of these games, which include stimulating the economy.
With thousands of the athletes residing and eating in the schools, being transported in CTO buses, there will not be much to write about in as far as the economic impact of such games may have had on the economy.
That said, the responsibility to fund raise seriously towards the successful hosting of the local games should not lie solely with government.
It is high time the respective sporting codes also play a big role in budget planning and resource allocation, going as far as courting potential sponsors to fund significant portions of a sporting codes’ tournament during the games.
Relying on government funding all the time does not only result in athletes sleeping in classrooms as a result of limited resources, but could one day mean that the games die a natural death, once government is unable to release the chunk of the funds needed for such games.
Sport has proven to be attractive to potential sponsors once it has been well packaged, and the honours are now on the various sporting fraternity to package themselves well and attract meaningful corporate investment.