As part of this mini-series on “balancing the World Cup 2010”, I am pleased to present the article below, by Gor - one of Myweku’s writers, as a guest post kindly contributed exclusively to this blog by Myweku’s editor Nii Thompson:
Just a Jamboree
Last year India shot a billion dollar rocket into space. Many were dismayed by the priorities of the Indian government. The billions spent on the space program could have been better spent on projects to ease poverty and other socio-economic problems on the sub-continent. This year, the irony of big budget event against a backdrop of urgent social discrepancies in Africa played out not once but twice.
Angola is only just emerging from the negative effects of a 3 decade civil war. 60% of her population lives on less than a dollar a day and she is in dire need of schools, electricity, sanitation, water and public health infrastructure. Despite these pressing socio-economic issues, the country forked out $1billion to host the 27th Africa cup of nations in January this year. Most of the money went towards building stadia and hotels.
In South Africa by the time the world cup kicked off, government and FIFA had spent an estimated $6 billion on ‘requirements’ to host the world’s biggest sporting event- $1 billion on new and upgrading old stadia, $8 million on public transport infrastructure, and $ 2billion on security, branding and marketing.
South Africa is classified by the UN as a middle income country; she has abundant supply of resources, a developed financial, communication, energy and transport infrastructure and a vibrant stock exchange market ranked among the world’s top 20. Nonetheless half of the 50 million South Africans live on less than $1.25 a day. She is globally ranked 129 out of 182 countries on the Human Poverty Index (HPI). South Africa also has one of the highest crime rates in the world earning Jo’burg the unenviable title of ‘murder capital of the world.
Psychologically, this year’s tournament may reverse stereotypes of the Dark Continent, and Africans get to brag that they delivered a world class event. Even so, this tournament has exposed Africa’s general inferiority complex; it is a colonial mentality to go to such great efforts to pull off a ‘party’ yet the same resources could have been deployed towards uplifting living standards of the average South African. Perhaps a Ghana win would have vindicated such wanton spending on a jamboree.
[Full article here]
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