Madness. That’s the only word to describe FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa. Making the headlines have been the big strikers, players who in days will become larger than life personalities & coaches with their strategy. All of a sudden football fanatics have left hearing Pink Floyd or Metallica and drudging themselves downloading the Kaans football song. From T-shirts of once favorite footballer to wrist bands and bandanas. People debating their hearts out over football statistics. Its all happening here. When wise men proclaim of football being the religion I can evidentially understand why.
The world cup for the first time is being hosted on African soil. More reason for South Africa to rejoice over Morocco & Egypt who also were in the run to host the world cup. But lets look at the other side of this entire event. The side less talked about, the economic side.
In choosing South Africa to bring the World Cup to Africa for the first time, FIFA was not only looking at what the country already offers – world class transport, telecommunications, tourism and sporting infrastructure, and people renowned for their passion and hospitality. They were looking ahead.
South Africa is reported spending in the tunes of R5 billion on building and renovating the ten stadiums where the games are to be staged and R5.2 billion on airport up gradation and R3.5 billion on improvement on road and rail network. The country has also put in significant efforts to ensure that the Gautrain, a high- speed rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport is completed.
Consulting reports speculate that the World Cup will inject approximately R21.3 billion into the South African economy, while generating as estimated R12.7 billion in direct spending and create an estimated 159000 new jobs. This sure is to do South Africa more good than just for the game.
With the estimated 3 million visitors for the tournament, the tourism industry will be on a all time high. This apart all the infrastructural developments carried on are benefiting the various constructions and engineering companies in the region. They all will get a slice of the cake.
The huge injection in the economy has been good but what is more meaning full is the indirect benefits that the region will experience. This will help in a sustainable economic lift in subsequent years. This event will change the perception that a large number of foreign investors hold of South Africa and Africa as a whole. This event will not only contribute hugely to South African socio economic growth, but to the development of the continent as a whole.
This merely is not just going to a sporting event where 90 minutes decide the fate of a team. Where impulse run high, adrenaline starts pumping when at the last minute the striker takes a shot at the goal. Beyond all this high tension entertainment that will merely last for 1 month is a strong economic connotation. It is a way to bring economic prosperity to a country or more so a continent as a whole that has been neglected for ages now.