Rwanda hosts Fifa Congress with eye on Africa sports hub status

Monday March 13 2023

Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Fifa President Gianni Infantino at a past event in Kigali in 2018. PHOTO | PRESIDENCY

By Ange Iliza

The world governing football association, Fifa, will expand its schools’ programme in Rwanda, which is hosting the annual congress, with a $50,000 investment.

The Football for Schools kitty will target over 4,000 learning institutions in the country in the next four years.

The 73rd Fifa Congress kicked off on March 13 to 17th in Kigali, bringing together about 2,000 delegates from 211-member associations and other football stakeholders.

The event will focus on a range of issues facing football, including governance, ethics, and the development of the sport at all levels.

The current Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, is also expected to seek re-election in the congress.

The renovated Nyamirambo Stadium, now renamed after the late legendary Brazilian footballer Pele, is slated for inauguration during the event. The stadium's capacity was increased to 15,000 in a revamp partly funded by Fifa to the tune of over $350,000. 


Rwanda also invested Rwf160 million (about $160,000) in 2021 to upgrade Amahoro stadium, increasing its seating capacity from 25,000 to 45,000. The revamping is set to be completed next year.

Sports tourism

Rwanda is banking on growing its tourism by positioning itself as Africa’s sports hub hosting major competitions. The country eyes raising $800 million in sports tourism by next year.

Read: AKAMANZI: Sportswashing? No. Rwandans benefit from the business of sport

The country hosted the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tours for both men and women in July 2021 and the Basketball Africa League in May of the same year.

Rwanda was also the third African country to host the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, attracting nearly 2,000 athletes from 20 countries.

Kigali has also won the bid to host the 2025 World Road Cycling Championships, the first time it will be held on the African continent.

The country’s partnership with Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain in the Visit Rwanda campaign generated $445 million in tourism revenues, with over one million visitors in 2022, according to government figures.