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Cameroon Economy and the World Cup

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Cameroon’s participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup helped many traders increase their turnover. The sale of sports gadgets skyrocketed and tenants of licensed premises were satisfied with the influx of customers.

In Yaoundé, banners and posters highlight promotional prices for television sets.

“Usually, we sell about five television sets per month. But last May we sold 17 units, which is a record,” explains Guy Tchamba, manager of an electronics store at the Yaoundé central market.

“Our customers are restaurants and licensed premises owners, as they want to attract more clients during matches. We also have some private customers who buy the sets for their homes,” adds Serges Atéba, also a store owner at the Yaoundé central market.

Serges Atéba also bought a lot of soccer jerseys, flags and whistles in preparation for the World Cup. The jerseys are imported from China and sold for between FCFA 1000 (€1.5) and FCFA 4000 (€6) a piece. He is not used to selling these gadgets, but he saw it as a good business opportunity. Now that the World Cup has ended, Serges Atéba has exhausted his stock of sports gadgets. He does not wish to express in figures the economic impact of the World Cup on his business, but the large smile on his face is sufficiently suggestive.

Printers have also increased their turnover. They printed pocket calendars of the matches, where fans could record scores and see details about upcoming games and combinations. The calendars went for FCFA 100 (€0.1) a piece and Simon, one of the many hawkers at the traffic circle of the central post office in Yaoundé, confirms in his own words, that “these calendars sold a lot”.

Soccer fans prefer to sit in licensed premises to watch the matches and enjoy a drink at the same time. The owners of such places capitalised on this during the showcase.

Money from FIFA
On a national level, FIFA offers monetary grants to participating countries at the World Cup. “It is no secret that FIFA allocates US$5 millions for the teams’ preparation and a further US$8 million for their participation in the World Cup,” explains Junior Binyam, Communications Officer for the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fécafoot).

In Cameroon, there have been allegations that the funds allocated by FIFA were misused by Fécafoot. The money was allegedly used to pay for the travel expenses of a bloated Fécafoot delegation. “People are talking about things they don’t know. To this day, the Federation has only received US$1 million from FIFA. The money was used entirely for the team’s preparation. We are still awaiting a gross amount of US$8 million from FIFA, as there were taxes and other deductions made by the soccer governing body on behalf of the host country. Those funds will be exclusively allocated to the development of national football for the next four years,” explains Fécafoot’s president, Iya Mohamed.

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Cameroon was knocked out in the first round, failing to record a single point. Nevertheless, many Cameroonians managed to reap the economic benefits of their country’s participation in the world’s greatest soccer spectacle.

“When a country takes part in the World Cup, its entire population stands to benefit, albeit at varying levels. To cite just one example, both the manufacturer and the retailer of a soccer jersey benefit from its sale,” concludes Christian Mbida, an economist in Yaoundé.

Publication rights to this feature are available from Africa Media Online.

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