KAMAYOYO Kelvin, Zambian Economist, Scholar and BuyZed Campaign Chief Technical Advisor noted that it was high time African Union (AU), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank now called Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and African Development Bank (AfDB) considered prioritising helping Member States on the African continent to bid for hosting the FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games and World Expos in order to spur rapid economic growth and undertake massive infrastructure development towards attaining Agenda 2063: “The Africa We want”. The four (4) institutions are essential in fostering Africa’s economic growth, promoting rural investment and sustainable development for all.
The AU, Afreximbank, PTA Bank and AfDB should consider supporting its Member States to bid for these global mega-sport and economic events in order to propel continental economic growth because such events often attract modern infrastructure development, boost tourism, create new business opportunities for small businesses, increase trade flows and ultimately induce socio-economic transformation for a better shared future. Particularly, the AU with its 55 Member States is a very critical continental institutional organ in propelling development and positively transforming economies guided by the Agenda 2063 which stands as Africa’s development blueprint towards achieving inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development over a 50-year period. This is a focused, inspirational and mammoth continental development Agenda requiring concerted effort and introduction of innovative events to stimulate rapid economic growth, guarantee inclusive participation and sustainable broadbased development, thereby strengthening individual countries’ economic resilience today and in the future.
So far the only African country that has succeeded in hosting the FIFA Men’s World Cup is South Africa held in 2010 and the others have been failed bid attempts. For instance, Morocco has just announced that it was set to join Spain and Portugal in a transcontinental bid to host the FIFA 2030 Men’s World Cup. Apparently, the 2030 bid shall be Morocco’s sixth bid to host the FIFA Men’s World Cup after a record of five unsuccessful attempts in 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026. The joint bid is unique given its transcontinental nature. This makes it to be unprecedented in the history of football as it brings together Africa and Europe, the northern and southern Mediterranean, and the African, Arab and Euro-Mediterranean worlds.
Against this backdrop, it is timely that the AU, Afreximbank, PTA Bank and AfDB considered prioritising supporting African countries to submit single or joint bids for hosting any of the three global major events, thus, FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games and World Expo which have proved to have significant positive impact on the global economy and capable of inducing desirable cultural transformation for growth. This purposive endeavour and ingenuity ought to be embraced as a continental deliberate investment policy action so as to target the hosting of at least one of these global major events every 4 or 5 years on the African continent in order to rapidly transform economies of most African countries. Indisputably, such global events have an inherent multiplier and catalytical growth effect on tourism, aviation, food and beverages, events management services, construction, skills development and technology industries. Additionally, in the medium to long term such global events are capable of attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) that helps the host countries fulfil their respective national visions.
For ease of reference, it is important to note that a decision to arrange the first edition of the official World Cup was declared on May 26, 1928. Subsequently, the first official World Cup organised by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was held in 1930 in Uruguay. Since then every 4 years FIFA has organised Men’s World Cups with the exception of 1942 and 1946, when it was not held because of the World War II. However, there were unofficial pre-FIFA World Cups already in the early 1900s, during the period when only few national football teams existed such as the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy held in 1909 and 1911. The recent FIFA Men’s World Cup 2022 was held in Qatar marking it the first Middle East and smallest nation to host the World Cup in the last 92 years.
The FIFA Men’s World Cup Qatar 2022 was expected to produce economic earnings estimated at $17 billion as compared to the 2018 Russia World Cup that earned an estimated value of $14 billion. (Sabena Siddiqui, 2022). According to Andrew Zimbalist (2022), Professor of economics at Smith College, he projected that Qatar would be expecting over 1.3 million World Cup visitors. He further argued that assuming that on average each visitor stays four days and spends $300 per day in Qatar and that normal tourist and business travel is not negatively affected by the anticipated congestion, higher prices and security concerns, for the 28 days duration of the World Cup, Qatar’s economy could earn approximately $10.92 billion. In addition, in the life of the FIFA Men’s World Cup the first World Cup to be held on the African soils was in 2010 in South Africa, where the Vuvuzelas became popular on the continent and many small entrepreneurs benefited from selling the product. According to the then finance minister, Pravin Gordhan the South African economy earned an estimated R38-billion or equivalent to $2.2 billion that year.
In the next Article which is Part (II) will focus on the other major global event namely the World Expo and address it in this similar fashion before proceeding to Part (III) dealing with Olympic Games and then conclude the series with Part (IV). Look out for Part (II): The first World Expo dubbed the “Great Exhibition” took place in 1851 in London and since then the concept has become popular and is being repeated across the globe every after 5 years to promote trade and investment including finding solutions to challenges affecting the world at large.