Pres Mnangagwa says sport has potential to drive economy
Gweru(The Times) – Sport has the potential to become a significant economic driver if run professionally and effectively, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.
Speaking during the official opening of the rebranded Zimbabwe National Youth and Paralympic Games, President Mnangagwa encouraged the sporting fraternity to work towards the promotion of sport.
“Traditionally sport was relaxed, recreational and casual but has become more competitive, organised, marketed and complexly administered, he said.
“The country at every level should embrace sport as a potential source of livelihood that can transform our nation into a sporting powerhouse by 2030.
“As such sport has the potential to become a significant economic driver that precipitates value chain business activities directly and indirectly contributing to the national economy of our country.
“To achieve this aspiration, it is vital for the sporting fraternity to turnover a new leaf.”
He said sportspersons and administrators alike must facilitate commercialisation of sport and the attendant value chains towards economic development and attainment of vision 2030.
The President, who is the patron of the Zimbabwe National Youth and Paralympic Games, encouraged the corporate world to partner the sporting fraternity and national junior development programmes of various sporting fields.
President Mnangagwa challenged sporting academies, schools, local authorities and the private sector to play a role in increasing participation of the disabled in sport by availing the requisite specialised infrastructure which accommodate persons with disabilities at all sporting venues countrywide.
“I appeal to stakeholders to undertake research and development into equipment design, dietary needs and other storages that improve the sporting performance of people with disabilities, he said.
The President said the hosting of the games attests to government’s commitment to assist persons with physical and mental disabilities to achieve their full potential.
He said all stakeholders must foster the development of all sporting disciplines in a manner that is inclusive.
“The encouragement and promotion of the participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream sport activities must also be prioritised, he said.
“These national Paralympic games will empower the participants to realise their full potential as well as advocate against societal stigma towards people with disabilities.”
He said government had put in place a new curriculum which promotes sport as an integral part of the education system.
“We shall continue to provide learners, young people and those living with disabilities the access and exposure to a broad array of sporting disciplines.”
Going forward, the President said, government will increase the funding of the Zimbabwe National Youth and Paralympic Games so that participants are well catered for in accommodation, food and suitable transport among other requirements.
Government will continue to create an environment that allows young people to exercise their talent and skills, he said.