It is almost three weeks since the curtains came down on WOZA2010, the FIFA World Cup Final at Soccer City in Johannesburg (11 July) where Spain defeated The Netherlands to win the cup for the first in their history. This offers us an opportunity to divorce ourselves from the euphoria that prevailed during, and immediately after the last match.
It must be remembered that the staging of this gigantic event on the African continent met with a lot of opposition especially from western circles and in South Africa itself. Much of the opposition had a racial content and nothing to do with facts. Lots of ifs and buts. Supposition all the way. That is why it was not only South Africa that was in the dock, but Africa as a whole.
Therefore, it was an absolutely necessity to have a good defence team. That was provided by Danny Jordaan and his LOC with solid support from the rest of the continent. The success of the tournament is now history and it is small wonder that President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is followed around like a pop-star at the AU Conference that is presently being held in the Ugandan Capital Kampala. Danny Jordaan is now a very strong candidate to take over the reins of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) from Issa Hayatou.
The biggest gains have been made in the tourist industry and the statement hereunder fits precisely into this picture.
“It is critical that tourism companies in East Africa take advantage of the interest in Africa generated through the staging of the FIFA World Cup Finals in South Africa”, said Mr Damian Cook, CEO of East Africa Tourism Frontiers.
Mr Cook was talking about the advantage of online marketing opportunities and the exposure the continent received via the international media in the period leading to/and during the tournament in South Africa. “Online sales have experienced a major growth in the past year. Travel is now number one selling commodity online and is generating over US$110 billion annually in sales”, commented the CEO in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya itself is expected to top the 1 million arrivals this year. The 64 matches were watched by an accumulative 40billion people in over 200 countries. It was a wonderful PR platform.
The Republic of Mozambique is also smiling. It is reported that the country was host to over 50 000 visitors during the World Cup. The future for the tourist industry looks very bright according to Martinho Matxiwa , Director of Tourism in Mozambique. According to him more tourists are beginning to come from Europe, America and Asia.. This presents a challenge to gear up its infrastructure that was so badly destroyed in the course of the bloody 16-year civil war which ended in 1992.
Mozambique could turn out to be a tourist paradise and has the space to accommodate the tourists who are expected to flock there in the coming years. That should not be difficult given its 2 500 kilometres of coast line along the Indian Ocean and well populated parks and nature reserves. Influx of tourists would have a huge influence in establishing a strong and lasting infrastructure from which the local population profits.
These are just two examples and the same can be said of almost all the countries on the continent who are benefiting from the World Cup exposure both short-and-long term.
The question is, how has the host country profited from it? There are many minds busy with this subject and I am using this opportunity of letting them advance their arguments and theories.
Thabani Khumalo is MD of South African based Think Tank Marketing Services (TTMS). He says: “When South Africa bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it was done on the basis that the tournament should leave a lasting legacy for the country and the continent. Through the event, government and African countries collaborated on a number of projects which contributed to the African legacy. These included: promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, fostering pride in the country and continent, peace and nation building, football support and development, environment conversation, culture and heritage, communication and telecommunication, and continental security cooperation”.
The seven years that South Africa had available is viewed by the MD of TTMS thus:
“The event grew in importance and emerged as a significant catalyst for promoting economic development, human interaction, raising global visibility, boosting tourism and promoting civic pride and social cohesion.
“The event revived the celebration atmosphere and renewed the spirit of togetherness that South Africans experienced when apartheid was overthrown by democracy in 1994. It brought players and supporters from different nations together and afforded them an opportunity to take an unequivocal stance against racism, xenophobia, and against the developing world’s exclusion, oppression and exploitation”, explained Thabani Khumalo.
According to Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkozana Dlamini-Zuma at least 1.4 million people entered South Africa during the World Cup – most of them being first-time visitors. This is an increase of 25 percent compared to the previous year.
What does this mean in monetary terms? South African Finance Minister Mr Pravin Gordhan, says the tournament added a percentage more to the country’s growth, when spending on stadiums and infrastructure was taken into account. “National government put in some R33 billion (Rand) in preparations for the World Cup which was an investment that formed part of a long-term development plan for the country, rather than a once-off event. What this actually means is that about R38 billion will be added to the GDP. The social and economic benefits created by the World Cup will continue to profit the people of South Africa long after the visitors have left the country”.
Ms Kay Walsh, is a senior economist at Deloitte SA. She says that the World Cup spending helped South Africa through the recession fortuitously. Planning was well under way when the global financial crisis hit. Spending was a good form of fiscal stimulus and helped to cushion South Africa from the negative impact of the recession.
Most analysts advance the view that South Africa, by hosting a tournament of such magnitude without any serious incidents, has improved its international image and will help to promote the country as an investment and tourism destination.
South Africa can now boast an infrastructure that would have been otherwise impossible to attain within the period of organising for the World Cup. That pressure was necessary and it is not surprising that the Government and sports bodies are seriously think of bidding to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020.
President Jacob Zuma has called for a National Prayer and a party to keep the World Cup spirit alive. In an interview on radio this week, he said: “We must maintain this spirit. It is not something you can buy. Government is working on a prayer on how to sustain this. I think it is important as a nation that we have a national prayer to thank God for helping us with this success.
“I think we need a day, a big day, where we have a national party, a festival for all of us to say thank you South Africans, thank you Africa, thank you everyone”, concluded the South African President.
Now it is time to hand over the baton and say WOZA-BRAZIL2014.
By Eric Singh