The South African World Cup doesn't look like it will have much benefit for the host continent
The red-and-white Coca-Cola billboards outside the airports of Africa’s largest cities trumpet the launch of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in just three weeks, inviting arriving travelers from around the world to “Join the Celebration!”
But Africans and African businesses haven’t felt welcome at the 2010 World Cup.
Much of the immediate profits from what will be Africa’s largest-ever sporting event will go to the world’s largest multinational companies and the international soccer association, FIFA, rather than to the world’s poorest continent. FIFA alone is due to take in more than $3 billion, up from the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Sponsors, almost all of them Western corporations, expect billions of dollars more.
Budweiser will be the brew on offer in the fan parks, rather than the beers of South African Breweries, one of the world’s largest beer-makers. Hungry fans will find McDonald’s and other globalized grub in the fan parks and stadiums, but not one vendor of South African food, South African government officials and African tourism leaders said this week. A Middle Eastern airline, Emirates, serves as the World Cup’s official carrier, rather than the internationally respected South Africa Airways.
“When you look at the companies getting the most exposure, the bulk of them, many of them, are multinational companies that don’t work in Africa,” Edward Bergman, executive director of the Africa Travel Association, said this week at the organization’s annual meeting in West Africa.