The 10th edition of the African Union Sports Council (Ausc) Region 5 Youth Games was launched amid captivating sights and sounds at Bingu International Covention Centre in Lilongwe on Friday.
The event was launched five months before the actual games to build up the hype well in advance and the Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda was optimistic of hosting successful Games scheduled to run from December 2 to 11.
The attendance of at least seven Cabinet ministers, who included Nancy Tembo (Foreign Affairs), Timothy Mtambo (National Unity), Mark Katsonga-Phiri (Trade and Industry) and Blessings Chinsinga (Local Government) was testimony of government’s commitment towards hosting a memorable event.
In his remarks, Chimwendo Banda said the games are a window for youth empowerment and a conduit for economic development through sports.
He also appealed to the corporate sector to partner government in hosting successful Games.
Said the minister: “Our doors remain open for the corporate sector to partner with government to deliver the games.
“Government cannot go it alone. We need captains of industry and commerce in the delivery of this project. This is a national project.”
Chimwendo Banda said the event will be a contribution towards sports tourism thereby bringing in the much-needed forex.
“The games will not only enhance the image of our beloved country, but will also contribute towards socio-economic development of our nation,’’ he said.
Region 5 Youth Games chief executive officer Stanely Mutoya said Malawi has made an emphatic statement through government’s commitment to host the games.
He said: “These games have become the breeding ground of sporting talent, citing revered South African athlete Caster Semenya, Zambian football legend Collins Mbesuma, Zimbabwean soccer star Khama Billiat and Patson Daka, who turns out for English Premiership side Leicester City, as some of the products.
“It has become leading home of innovation and excellence in which hopes have been made and dreams have been realised.
“Infrastructure has been upgraded and businesses have been established. So, government’s investments will not go in vain.”
However, Mutoya also appealed to the corporate sector to partner government in the cause.
He also said the games are expected to leave a legacy as they will offer business opportunities and boost the tourism industry.
The launch was symbolic displays of various sports disciplines.
Ten countries, hosts Malawi, Botswana, e-Swatini, Lesotho, Mozambique , South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia are expected to participate in 12 sporting codes which will attract about 3 500.