South Africa, Jan 21: The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) that began on Jan 19 brought sports enthusiast all over Africa and experts believe the sport jamboree that will last until January Feb 10 will contribute significantly to the South African economy. “It is a rare opportunity for the country to revive its sluggish economy especially in the domain of SMEs,” said economist Dr Frankline Damosu.
South Africa is the most economically developed African country. It is estimated that SMEs generated more than 55% of all jobs and 22% of the country’s GDP in 2012. The South African government hopes that more jobs and businesses would be created during and after the game.
“More than 10, 000 temporary jobs will also be created for the duration of the tournament. More than R920 million has been invested in South Africa and 2.3 billion viewers are expected to watch the tournament on television” Mvuzo Mbebe, CEO of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) told a local TV channel.
Afcon 2013 is expected to attract 40,000 visitors from outside the country according to Mvuzo Mbede. Economists estimate that the influx of the sport lovers will benefit the country enormously.
“These are people who have come with money to spend. This means that South Africa will witness a rise in demand of its products and a consequent rise in supply. The unemployed will become entrepreneurs and create SMEs. We are already seeing most of them around the cities advertising their goods. And I bet you most of these SMEs are going to continue to grow after the Cup of Nations,” said Damosu.
The tournament will be played in five cities, including Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Rustenburg and this is considered to be a great booster especially to the hotel and tourism sectors according to Ventures Africa -a Pan-African business magazine and news service.
“This means South African tourism, which the government has identified as having the potential to boost the sluggish economy, will experience an influx of visitors from all over the country. Soccer lovers who will be coming into South Africa are going to visit some of the country’s well-known tourist destinations in between the soccer matches. These include the more than 1000 km of beautiful sandy coastline, untouched game parks with abundant wildlife and exquisite hotels all over the major centres’ that will be hosting the soccer games,” wrote Ventures Africa
Fikile Mbalula, South Africa’s Minister of Sports and Recreation, said the fact that the country’s infrastructure will be showcased to so many people throughout the world can only be good for the country. South Africa,s economy witnessed a boom before, during and after the 2010 World Cup although government has been criticised for not doing enough to make the poor tap from the benefits.
“It is the challenge for the government now. They can alleviate poverty in parts through this Afcon. The poor can become rich,” Damosu said. South Africa was asked to host the Afcon 2013 after Libya pulled out because of the political turmoil in that country.