South Africa's successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup holds lessons for South Africa that could be used to tackle other important challenges facing the country and Africa, such as improving the quality of municipal management and service delivery, as well as the looming roll-out of government's massive infrastructure development programme.
There are lessons South African organisations can also use to grow business and seek further opportunities in the investment arena. These were the findings of a discussion panel at the fourth annual Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conference, at Sun City recently: the Africa Dialogue 2012. Deloitte was selected as the knowledge partner of this conference.
The discussion panel was moderated by Deloitte public sector director Anele Mtshemla, with panellists Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee and currently adviser to the Brazilian counterpart; Charlotte Moponya, CEO of Brand South Africa; and Bongani Maseko, CEO of ACSA.
Mtshemla opened the discussion: “South Africa too often views itself as a junior partner in whatever forums it participates, but one area it has led the way for other emerging markets is in the World Cup. It is no coincidence that following South Africa's highly successful hosting of this tournament – labelled by FIFA President Sep Blatter as the most successful one ever.”
It is no secret that for FIFA, the 2010 World Cup was the most lucrative in its history. The hosting of the World Cup left a prolific legacy for the country, not to mention the improved image of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Three other emerging markets were awarded the next three tournaments in 2014, 2018 and 2022 (Brazil, Russia and Qatar). What were the lessons these countries can use from the legacy left by the 2010 World Cup?
“With over 1.4 million visitors, figures suggest the tournament had increased South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.93%, an amount far in excess of its cost. Some of the accolades from FIFA included: 'An unqualified success', and 'a great and proud moment for South Africa',” added Mtshemla.
A project of this scale cannot be managed in the absence of unity; everyone involved in the management of the Organising Committee had a common purpose and vision, and it all hinges on good leadership as well as good financial and project management, specifying timelines and then adhering to them.
According to Jordaan, the real lesson to be learned is that South Africans should have been promoting themselves in Brazil before the 2010 World Cup has even been held, and they should now be active in Russia and Qatar. Maseko added that despite the seeming belated approaches by South African firms to sell their World Cup experiences, emerging market companies often still prefer to deal with a South African organisation than any other. That, at least, was the experience of ACSA, which had won a contract in Brazil to advise on its World Cup.
The brand equity of South Africa had soared in financial terms, and more importantly, now rated South Africa among the handful of top brands in the world in terms of consumer recognition.
The entire country got behind the World Cup as an incredible example of 'unity of purpose', and yet the real story came from individuals telling the story of South Africa to visitors as a conduit for the branding and marketing of South Africa. South Africa set a standard which other countries can learn from.
It was agreed the country had developed invaluable skills as a result of the tournament, and yet a major challenge appeared to be the commercialisation of those skills. Businesses bidding for work in Brazil immediately after the final ceremony were surprised to find German and other Europeans already active in Brazil when they arrived. They are similarly already positioning themselves in Russia and Qatar.
South Africa is reaping the rewards of hosting the World Cup; it was a much needed catalyst for improvements in infrastructure.