THE ROLE OF SPORTS DIPLOMACY IN AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: THE CASE OF KENYA

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African states have yet to master fully how to apply sport to achieve their interest and to build their political power and influence globally. When sport goes beyond national boundaries it becomes an intimate companion of diplomacy. Sports Diplomacy is an increasingly important aspect of diplomatic practice and growing part of the global sports industry. The main purpose of the study was to establish the role of sports diplomacy in the pursuit of Africa’s and Kenya’s national interest in  particular. The study sought to examine and  analyze the role of sports diplomacy in advancing Africa’s regional interests, in attaining Kenya’s national interest in foreign relations and in Kenya’s foreign economic relations. This study was using cross sectional surveys  and  Purposive  sampling  to  select  those  to  be  interviewed  to  help  get  the  right information.  The  theory  being  used  in  the  study  is  the  liberal  theory  that  proposes  the cooperation of states and non-state actors and the important role of international institutions in international relations. The hypothesis formed were sports diplomacy can be utilized to advance Africa’s interests as a region, sports diplomacy can attain Kenya’s national interest in foreign relations and sports can positively influence Kenya’s foreign economic relations. They were used in the formation of the questionnaire. The study established that sports diplomacy could be used in the pursuit of national interest and that sports diplomacy could be seen as part of identity building for a state, in which case the concept of sports ambassadors was identified. The study also found out that image building was an effective strategy aimed to attract investors that are in early stages of decision – making while at the same time position Kenya as a regional leader. The study recommends that the government needs to further embark on an active campaign for Kenya to utilize sports diplomacy in the pursuit of national interest in Africa and globally.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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