NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – A high powered government delegation is in the country from Uganda led by Youth Minister Nakiwala Kiyingi, to hold talks with African leading sports gaming firm SportPesa.
The Ugandan government has been in talks with SportPesa behind the scenes, with the hope that the betting firm will set up office in Kampala coming hot on the heels of the successful launch of their Tanzanian market, SportPesa TZ two months ago.
The talks have been further spiced up after it was revealed that the Ugandan government was willing to make concessions to SportPesa so as to give it entryin their market.
SportPesa is currently fighting a new law in Kenya that will see it pay 35% on of their revenue as tax, unlike in Uganda where the proposed law has 35% on profits.
Speaking after their closed door meeting at their headquarters, SportPesa Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Karauri said that they were excited with the commitment the Ugandan government has shown in their product and most important sports development at the youth level.
“We are committed to supporting the development of the game in Uganda, just as we have done in Kenya and Tanzania both on and off the pitch and the will to offer advice and mentoring support across a range of business areas to include; stadium operations, marketing, media & business management.
Karauri added that the Ugandan delegation had also offered them an opportunity to help their government regulate the sector.
“Just like the teething problems we have in Kenya, Uganda also have an influx of illegal gaming players. We are more than ready to help the Ugandan government streamline the sector, now that they have officially invited us (SportPesa) for a series of meetings in Kampala,” Ronald added.
On her part, Minister Nakiwala said that they were in the country with the full blessing of President Yoweri Museveni to start up the dialogue between SportPesa and Uganda football to ensure that we participate in the East African League (The SportPesa Super Cup) and also to ensure that SportPesa comes to Uganda to invest in the Uganda league.
“Our government is looking at SportPesa as a serious investor and not really a business person. So we want them to come down to Uganda and together we look at the regulation further,” she said adding that President Museveni was keen to attract investors who were keen to open up opportunities for the youth.
“We are going to look at SportPesa in isolation because it is coming with a heavy weight of promoting football; investing in academies, investing in young people, giving them employment. It is beyond gaming. So we are looking at the other side of investment and then we shall make sure that we down and dialogue,” explained Kiyingi.
Kiyingi says if SportPesa was to put the same amount of investment in football like in Kenya and Tanzania, then Uganda football will grow in leaps and bounds because what Uganda lacks now is adequate sponsors in sports.
“The talent is there, the morale is there, the demand is overwhelming but what is missing is the capital injection in football in general and branding.”
Nakiwala was accompanied by Charles Muyimba, Executive Director of Uganda North American Youth Development Association, Joshua Baguma who is a Youth Sports Ambassador and Desire Kakande.