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Underdeveloped physical education and sports participation in least-developed countries in Africa.

Updated on April 25, 2014

Sport is everywhere!

The Problem and its solution

The governments have cannot divert economical aid towards the financing of sport projects for all. However there are of course a number of indirect solution, which in the long term could create a lasting result for, not only LDCs but also in a global scale. The directest solution would be the increase of numbers of bilateral and multilateral international cooperation programs.

The Numbers

In Africa the United Nation states that 16 countries are named as Least-Developed countries. The biggest issue being that the ratio of sports facilities to inhabitants in all countries was very high, reaching in Ethiopia the fact of one gymnasium to 25 000 000 people. The lack of educated, certified PE teachers is also a great problem. In 16 of the countries, statistics show that there is an average of one teacher to 100 pupils in primary school, where children receive their initial, most important physical education. A report from UNESCO states that football is the only regularly practiced sport and similar sports that do not necessarily need special facilities. In contrast 'sophisticated' sports are not practiced due to the need of specialized facilities (Golf greens, swimming pools, etc.) Another issue is the lack of medical staff and assistance. Of the 16 countries surveyed by UNESCO only 10 have a system of medical assistance specifically for sport, while 8 do not have trained sport doctors or medic. In summary two main issues must stay top of the agenda for this problem in question. First, the lack of trained, educated physical education and medical staff, second the absence of sports facilities and the funds to specifically support sport in the LDCs in Africa.


the United Nation Development Programme has achieved a lot in this field over the past decade.
the United Nation Development Programme has achieved a lot in this field over the past decade.

The Solution

There are many solutions that can arise, such as the earlier mentioned increase in international cooperations. Germany for example has cooperations with more that 40 developing countries worldwide, which though mainly focus on football and the search for new young talent that could bring fame to their countries in the future. Such examples come the country of Cot'd'ivoire – Didier Drogba und Emmanuel Eboue. Through the increase of such programs and the introduction of new educational programs the affected countries will benefit not only by receiving new funds but also educational development and basic first aid training. But the most simple initial answer is to put pressure on the reinstating of traditional, national sports, as these do not require special facilities and equipment in most cases. Another area that should be concentrated on more intensely is the influence and (re)instigating of old ideas and programs, such as Olympic Solidarity, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and the Global Sports Alliance (GSA). Such ideas have been very productive, for example FIFA's initiative in 1976 to train players, coaches, referees and managers, that focused mainly on LDCs. For these short term implements not only funds will be needed, but also the interference of governmental organizations and volunteers from NGOs. Governments of each individual country are most important as they have the best view and understanding of the issues in the individual nation. Publicity in the international community is another valued asset as it is capable to rise awareness and lead people to organize fundraising events.

Sadly, it must wait.

However the development of sport is closely related to the economical development in the nation. In the long term, to increase physical education in LDCs, firstly and most importantly the countries need to make a step forward in their economical and demographical development. Then they can start to divert their focus on sports and other themes. It is true that sports can help but the world in total and the Less Economically Developed Countries must focus first on healthcare, education, poverty reduction, infrastructure and many other large & small programmes, while the United Nations must concentrated on ending conflicts and reaching the Millennium Development Goals target to try and really change the international situation. And afterwords maybe the world could focus on the large role sports could play in development.

Sports in Development

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The Doha Goals 2013


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