For South Africa, Hosting World Cup May be a Mixed Bag

    One year before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa - the first African host country in the event's history - the debate over its impact on the region continues.

    In the past few years, South Africa's opposition leaders and media harshly criticized the government's efforts to construct soccer stadiums and other facilities in cities where education and sports infrastructure for the youth are still lacking.

    This week, political and business leaders from 50 countries gathered in South Africa's legislative capital city of Cape Town for the World Economic Forum, where the possible legacy of the next FIFA World Cup was discussed by both local and international representatives.

    Helen Zille, the newly elected premier of the Western Cape province and former mayor of Cape Town, expressed her concerns over the ability of South Africa to build on the significant international investments the event has attracted unless sectors such as education where given equal support.

    Michael Jordaan, CEO of First National Bank of Southern Africa, said that the bank was pleased to invest in the event, given its potential to create a lasting environment for investment. Jordaan stressed, though, that optimism fueled by the influx of financial support may have negative side effects, such as inflated expectations on job creation.

    About the author

    • Tiziana Cauli

      Tiziana has contributed to Devex News since mid-2008, focusing mainly on Africa as well as the European donor landscape, especially those in Brussels, Rome and Barcelona. Tiziana has worked as a journalist for Reuters and the Associated Press in Johannesburg and at Reuters in Milan and Paris. She is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.