Gabon-ACN 2017: mobilizing economic operators

As the 31st Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) kicks off on January 14 in Libreville, the country’s economic operators are already involved in the event.

Mobilizing economic operators

Several thousands of visitors are expected in Gabon at the 31stCAN, and the country’s economic operators will avail this opportunity to increase their turnover. In the ACN village located at the seaside of Libreville, many of them have already established and offer local products to the general public. «We will be staying here until the end of the event. We expect many tourists to come to Gabon as part of the African Cup of Nations. The seaside gives us a lot of visibility» said Mbeng Irene raffia, clothes saleswoman. Tatiana, a shoe salesman and craftsman, is also enthusiastic. She hopes that by the beginning of the cup, the number of customers will increase and that she will do «a good business». For the moment, «it’s not going very well. We are increasingly feeling the effects of economic crisis, »she said.

The bitterness of traders

Many traders encountered in the ACN village are divided between hope and despair. Some of them say they hope they will take advantage of this football cup to bounce up their business, others, especially the tenants of boxes and stands at the seaside are completely pessimistic, because of the «very high» price of trading spaces. «We took serious risks by renting stands in the ACN village. It will not be easy to have a return on investment. I personally made a subscription of CFA 600 000 for 3 months. It’s too expensive, »said Prisca Bivigou, manager of a food shop. According to Paul Mba, the rental prices of stands and boxes set by the Ministry of Trade in the CAN village «are not likely to encourage economic operators. They are small traders and the fact of imposing a monthly rent of CFA 200 000 means the Ministry of Trade wants to get rich on their backs. » Many traders also want to renegotiate the stand rental prices with their public partner.

Make Gabon attractive

According to the Minister of Trade, «the concept of ACN village was developed to help economic operators have more visibility during the sport event and promote their products. But this was done in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism which also wants to avail this opportunity to sell ‘Gabon destination’. The box and stand rental prices therefore take into account the investment cost. » As also mentioned by Rachel Nkiyeme, head of the ACN village, «the information that comes from traders is not so bad. For example, those who rent our boxes and stands during the end of year festivals say they had a good return on investment. »
A boon for the hotel and catering industry

According to many economic analysts, the big investors in the hotel industry and tourism and catering operators will benefit most from the organization of this 2017 ACN by Gabon. As nearly CFA 4.7 billion were spent on accommodation and catering for the 2012 CAN, jointly organized by Gabon, we can imagine that the budget this time will probably double, which may boost the country’s economy and increase the traders’ turnover.


AUTHOR: Pierre Eric MbogBatassi; Picture : Seller in the ACN Village © Pierre Eric MbogBatassi

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