Benefits of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for South Africa
With the build up to the 2010 FIFA world cup final against European giants Spain and Netherlands generating substantial excitement and ethos, a lot can be said about the success of the world cup so far in terms of its logistics and more especially, the benefits that have been or will be generated from its occurrence. One can characterise the world cup by its positive effects that have been produced or will be produced by it transpiring. These benefits have been both of a tangible and intangible form, ranging from social benefits to economic benefits. Firstly, the level of social cohesion brought about by the world cup has been inspiring to say the least. It has brought together fans from different race gropus, religious groups, and social standing for the purpose of supporting their country in the world cup. This has been a positive step forward in uniting the host country South Africa as a truly democratic society. Evidence of this cohesion can be seen at the fan fest parks and soccer matches, with various South African fans coming together without segregation intentions. Personally, I have bared witness to this happening at the matches that I have been to. Other social benefits also brought about by the world cup includes a sense of pride and patriotism by citizens of South Africa successfully hosting such an enormous event.
Economically, the FIFA world cup will positively affect South Africa’s GDP in the near future. According to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, current projections display a 0.4% growth in South Africa’s GDP as a result of the world cup. Even though this growth seems small, given that South Africa’s economy contracted by 1.8% in 2009, this growth will nevertheless help South Africa’s economy to grow positively this year. According to Pravin Gordhan, as estimated 130 000 jobs were created in the build up to the world cup. Additionally, the progression of the world cup has permitted local business such as restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels to experience unusually increased business from international and local soccer fans. However, the probability of this growth declining after the world cup, as one would expect, is logically high.
In terms of the country’s image and goodwill, the world cup will undoubtedly transform South Africa’s image in the eyes of major sporting committees such as the Olympic committee. The successful execution of the world cup so far has really created a reputation for South Africa as a country that can successfully meet deadlines and deliver. This will unquestionably hold South Africa in excellent stead for further hosting of major sporting and non sporting events. According to Pravin Gordhan, “we have earned the reputation of a country that can actually deliver and that is good for future growth. This infrastructure we have built is not a short term infrastructure that you build today and destroy tomorrow. We have increased the productivity of the people of South Africa and all of that is part of our development and long term planning for our country”.
Thus, the arrival of the 2010 FIFA world cup has certainly resulted in benefits being enjoyed or which will be enjoyed by South Africa, its economy, and its people. However, once the world cup has ended and international fans have departed to their homelands, the question of whether South Africa will have the ability to maintain the new infrastructure that it has produced for the world cup, unfortunately, only time will tell.