As the month-long FIFA 2010 World Cup tournament kicks-off on June 11, all eyes will be on South Africa. Quite literally, since the 2006 tournament in Germany had a global viewership of around 30 billion.
The event is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase itself not just as an attractive destination for tourism and investment but also as the Rainbow Nation, home to people of every race, color, and creed.
The economic dividends will be plenty. As President Zuma explained: “the country’s transport, energy, telecommunications, and social infrastructure are being upgraded and expanded. This is contributing to economic development in the midst of a global recession, while improving conditions for investment.”
Some economists are skeptical, seeing white elephants in large stadium constructions and citing analyses that show little net economic benefit to the hosts of previous such events.