After several years of interactions involving key stakeholders within its sport ecosystem, Nigeria has adopted in November 2022 a new National Sports Industry Policy. With a population of nearly 220 million, mostly young, this initiative is an important step for both the development of grassroots sport and the promotion of sporting excellence.

It is only recently that the federal government has reclassified and considered sport as a sustainable and relevant industry and no longer as just a leisure activity, thus giving rise to a vision focused on the key role of sport as a lever for social cohesion, health promotion, economic development and international recognition.

Led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Industry Policy includes a number of initiatives to promote the development of a sustainable ecosystem:

  • Investment in sports infrastructures
  • Creation of sport-related economic opportunities
  • Capacity building and training for athletes and coaches

Several investment incentives have been included:

  • Tax exemption and rebate for a period of 5 years for investment in the sports value chain;
  • Land provision and waiver for certain fees on lands meant for sports
  • Reduced interest rates of loans for corporate organizations and private individuals investing in the sports value chain;
  • Independent government grant for the establishment of an independent fund from which athletes representing the country can draw support for education and training;
  • Application of existing “Renovate Operate Transfer” (ROT), “Build Operate and Transfer” (BOT) funding schemes and any other innovative Public Private Partnership (PPP) financing model for the provision and rehabilitation of sports facilities, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning;
  • Full operationalization and application of the Sports Code of Governance.

In order to facilitate interactions and the development of sport-related programs and projects, the national policy also clearly defines the roles and obligations of the various public institutions, corporates and other key stakeholders (federations, civil society organizations, private investors, etc.)

By adopting this ambitious policy, Nigeria highlights its will to shoulder a role of key player in the development of sport in Africa notably though various aspects:

  • The strengthening of the country’s positioning among the leaders of sport in Africa and;
  • The attractiveness of the sector on a national scale in order to mobilize more local and foreign investments
  • The creation of jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians, particularly in the areas of construction, the management of sporting events and the promotion of related sports products and services;
  • The development of quality sports infrastructures in order to improve the conditions for athletes and increase the competitiveness of Nigerian teams on the international scene. Several state-of-the-art stadiums have recently been built to host a number of national and international sporting events.
  • The launch of several programs encouraging the practice of sports and notably promoting its impacts on education, health and well-being;
  • The increase of the number of interactions between sport stakeholders, notably by the creation of win-win partnerships between sport federations, local governments, civil society and the private sector.

Nigeria is a country already known for its sporting talents, notably in football, basketball and athletics. The adoption and roll-out of this National Sports Industry Policy should truly make a difference and become a source of inspiration for other African nations.