‘Business unusual’ to score from 2010

8 August 2008

Throughout South Africa and much of the sub-continent, ordinary people are hoping to cash in on the world’s biggest single-code sporting event.

But four years after South Africa was granted the rights to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, it is still unclear how a tournament which promises to generate billions of rands will help the average man on the street.

The Project 2010 column: Craig Urquhart Key 2010 role-players have warned the public not to be overly optimistic about benefiting. Nevertheless, the government has noted that there are various areas where the state and the private sector can enter into partnerships.

“It is not the 90 minutes on the soccer field that matters, but the benefits outside that,” KwaZulu-Natal Premier S’bu Ndebele said this week. “What happens when the World Cup ends, and the real opportunities for our people start trickling down? This we can achieve with the collective resources, energy, determination, aptitude, attitude, and skills of the private sector and the state.”

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Certainly, many ordinary people (with or without government assistance) are already making the most of what will surely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

For starters, more than 20 000 construction workers are permanently employed on the various stadium projects. Thousands more are working on other 2010-related construction projects, including airport renovations and the upgrading of roads.

The expansion of the police force and emergency services specifically for 2010 is drawing many new recruits into their ranks.

Similarly, over the next 23 months, at least 28 000 tourism industry employees are to benefit from a newly launched adult basic education and training programme which aims to bridge the serious challenge of unemployment, particularly among black youngsters and women.

Thinking outside the box

And let’s not forget the informal sector. Tens of thousands of hawkers, artists and other entrepreneurs are already modifying their products and services to cater for the influx of foreign visitors.

And with so many unique products out there – like makarabas, vuvuzelas and African art – there will be no shortage of winners.

Other industries have learned to “think outside the box” in order to benefit from the month-long event. For example, Wines of South Africa, the not-for-profit organisation that promotes local wines worldwide, has just launched its Fundi premium red wine brand.

Inspired by the World Cup, this novel job creation and skills development initiative will see profits from all sales of this wine going toward training of 2010 wine stewards.

Over the next few months many more 2010-related initiatives will be launched and, judging by the response to the 2010 volunteer programme (20 000-plus already), South Africans will continue to swell the 2010 work force.

Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010