Nairobi 2032 Olympics – Part 1

Why we should host the 2032 Olympic Games.

August 5, 2017

How old were you when the Olympics Games were first hosted in Africa?
That’s right, it’s never happened.

5 years from today, Nairobi will be ready to submit its bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, an experience like no other.

Why Nairobi?

Well, it’s a question of tea cups. Yes, tea cups.

We’ve all seen it – that set of fine crockery that our mothers stored away in the cupboards, only to be brought out when we’re hosting important guests.
Don’t fault her, it’s human nature. Same goes when you see Uhuru Highway cleaned and its lanes repainted – you know there’s a dignitary about to land.

We tend to only fix our homes when invited guests visit. Playing host brings out the best in us, and forces us to look at ourselves objectively.
Hosting the Olympics is the perfect platform for bringing lasting change to Nairobi. We have it in us, and we’ll be ready to say Karibu to the world.

We’re a Sporting Nation

The world knows Kenya as the cradle of athletic champions. David Rudisha, Pamela Jelimo, Kipchoge Keino, Eluid Kipchoge, Ezekiel Kemboi, Julius Yego, Vivian Cheruiyot… our champions are too many to list. Event after event, they proudly bring home the medals to mark their domination, particularly in distance running and track & field. But that’s not all. Kenya has competed in the Cricket World Cup since 1996, made strides in rugby – currently ranking 12th in the world series standings, and football remains one of our most popular spectator sports.

In addition to stellar participation, we have hosted several major sporting events. The recent IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 were a success. There is talk of a bid to host the 2023 IAAF Worlds. We have dipped our toes in the pool – now we want to dive in.

Soft Power

Soft Power refers to the ability of one state to influence the behaviour of others through the means of attraction and persuasion, rather than coercion or payment. Think of it as the ultimate goal in National brand building. Some traditional Soft Power programmes experienced in Kenya include institutes (the British Council, the Goethe Institute), broadcast (BBC, CCTV), awards & events (the Nobel prize, beauty pageants), and entertainment (Hollywood, Nollywood, Bongo Flava).

Soft power strategies are based on countries’ governance, embassies, tourism, networks (memberships in international organizations), sporting excellence, education, culture (cuisine, films, art, music), and think tanks.

A Catalyst for Development

Sustainable Legacy

A city capable of hosting an Olympics event, is a world-class city – right through sustainable planning, infrastructure, and a higher standard of living index for all. Working on hosting an Olympics event gives us a target to aspire to, and a framework to work with – serving as a catalyst for our city’s development.

Candidature contributes to sustainable legacies in the host city and nation, with genuine lasting benefits to transform local and regional communities.

Hosting an Olympics event is not just about the sporting magic, it’s a chance for a nation to build and improve itself, and to leave a lasting legacy of real value & significance for decades after the medals have been won. Efforts are aligned with a city’s long-term development plans, to ensure priorities are clear, and investments are efficient and impactful.

Investing in Our Future

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors—we borrow it from our children.”
~ Chief Seattle

Infrastructure Impact

Tremendous urban change will stem from this initiative. Permanent infrastructure development would be built around sustainable urban and business plans, adequately scoped for realistic multipurpose legacy use in sport, entertainment, community, social, commercial activities. The games can be planned to drive investment in venues, facilities and mass-transit transport infrastructure for long term community use, including the regeneration of neighbourhoods, reclamation of land, new developments and refurbishments, and so on.

Economic Impact

Hosting the Olympic games provides a monumental boost to the local and national economy across all sectors, experienced before, during, and after the games. Job creation is multiplied throughout the wider economy, and local skills development & employment prospects are greatly enhanced, bolstering future economic growth. In addition, Government delivery is improved through effective working practices with enduring public benefits and community service.

Sporting Impact

Nothing inspires younger generations to take up sporting lifestyles like a global sporting event in your own back yard. The games serve as a lever to drive investment in elite athletes & high-performance sporting infrastructure, expertise development, as well as encourage sporting activities and healthy lifestyles at grassroots & community levels. Sporting success through support of the national team, boosts national pride, self-esteem, and collective community happiness.

Environmental Impact

Creating awareness around sustainability and better environmental practices is a key achievement. Environmental innovation inspires lasting change as a result of higher building standards, more effective regulation & enforcement of sustainable best practices.

Social Impact

Playing host and Olympic success galvanise citizens through an effort and cause founded in globally accepted humanitarian principles. The games bring a greater sense of community, social cohesion and belonging, through a global celebration of diversity.

The Approach

Hosting the 2032 games provides immense opportunities to create new service facilities, upgrade standards, increase capacities & improve quality of service across all sectors. The challenge will be to embrace innovative plans that are workable now, yet remain useful decades from now and beyond – but that’s why they call it sustainable innovation.

15 years is a long time, but in terms of infrastructure and capacity development, it’s just enough.

More on what it takes to host the Nairobi Olympic Games at


Bidding to host an Olympic Games is a collective effort that drives public engagement.
Regardless of outcome, cities can reap sizeable benefits from their candidatures, with noticeable impact on economic and social well-being of the nation.

Success from Victory

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”
~ Abraham Lincoln

A successful bid propels a national brand through scale and reach. Further association with the the Olympic Brand brings home attributes of excellence, inspiration, diversity, peace. Candidature focuses a city’s public authorities in its long-term urban development plans, and winning the bid brings distant milestones closer to reality, to be enjoyed by our generation.

Success from Failure

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm”
~ Winston Churchill

Organizational elements needed for candidature are useful in themselves, and have use after the bid process, even if a city is not successful. Bidding alone raises a city’s profile internationally, and creates a direct increase in tourism, national brand exposure, and a change in the collective narrative to a more optimistic future.

NYC 2012 – New York’s candidature for the 2012 Games (awarded to London) resulted in the approval of comprehensive urban development plans for seven key zones around the city, including new affordable housing, mass transit enhancements, new parks and amenities, and other new infrastructure developments. MADRID 2020 – Madrid’s candidature for the 2020 Games (awarded to Tokyo) created a platform of social and economic legacies and benefits including a volunteer programme and a start-up entrepreneur scheme – the impacts of which will be felt for years to come.

Design Innovation

We’ve developed this initiative as a design activism project, because we know that this will bring lasting and positive change to our city.

Design-led think-tanks are agile enough to move efficiently, and utilise strategies and design thinking tools to create immense value at the early stages of any programme.

Innovation supported by big data allows us to create new bold ideas, run rapid prototypes to assess feasibility and fit, building our collective courage to exploit them in incredible ways that deliver great experiences.

Imagine Nairobi 2032

“Everything you can imagine is real”
~ Pablo Picasso

Imagination has everything to do with reality. Leaders need imagination to set visions and goals to aspire to. It also allows them to see opportunities and obstacles that are yet to be realised. Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein were considered daydreamers. Whatever they imaged aeons ago is now solid reality.
We have the power to imagine the very first Olympics to be held on African soil, and adopt a penchant of working together towards a bid. The future reality could very well be Nairobi 2032.

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