JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s first World Cup tournament has been an economic success for South Africa, President Jacob Zuma told an investment conference Tuesday.
The country got a good return on the $4.26 billion it invested on transport infrastructure, telecommunications and stadiums, Zuma said.
Some 66,000 people got new construction jobs as a result of stadium construction and rehabbing, while money spent on security means there are 40,000 additional police officers, Zuma said, according to a transcript of his speech.
On top of that, the image the country has projected to the world has been positive, Zuma said.
"The world has seen this country in a different light," Zuma said. "They have seen the precision when it comes to planning and logistical arrangements. They have seen the efficiency of our security infrastructure and infrastructure. Basically, our planning over many years is paying off and we are happy."
Christopher Hart, the chief economist for Investment Solutions, said he doesn’t believe the event itself has been financially profitable, but that the positive coverage the country received as a result of the tournament is priceless.
"This was an important, image-changing event for South Africa," he said. "It has been successful, against expectation ... People saw it and experienced it as a success."
The country is likely to attract more foreign investment in the future as a result, Hart said, but added that the government has to ensure that it keeps up the standards set during the tournament, especially when it comes to security.
Zuma used the conference to urge fund managers present to invest in the country.
"South Africa is a center between the emerging markets of Central and South America and the newly industrialized nations of South and Far East Asia," Zuma said.
He also said the country plays a pivotal role for the entire continent.
"Many South African companies have major investments in the continent," Zuma said. "They are proving that Africa is indeed a continent of opportunity rather than one of despair."
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