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ExtraVirgin August 2010
Money Extend right arm horizontal to the ground, palm up. Lift to the sky, bend elbow, stretch back – and pat. Repeat exercise until smile is generated. Yes, we did it. Now, how to calculate the benefits?

This world cup experience has touched the lives of many, both at home and abroad, in many ways. From all quarters imaginable, the praise and congratulations have been vuvuzela-like; consistent and resounding. Well done South Africa, not only did we confound and disprove all sceptics, we went one better and hosted what is considered by some to have been the best World Cup ever.

Sceptics and naysayers are expected to receive airtime and coverage before such a huge event, and on the economic and financial front, their views pertaining to South Africa were no less guarded. We couldn’t deliver on the infrastructure, the burdens would be too great financially, we were misallocating resources that would ultimately build only white elephants – the list went on.

Accurate figures are difficult to ascertain, but there are many reports suggesting that the net foreign currency inflows generated from the World Cup might be sufficient to cover a large proportion of the infrastructure spend incurred prior to the event. This is a huge financial boost for the country. Businesses generated directly or indirectly by the tournament, from tourism to restaurants and pubs, also boomed.

How does one calculate the benefits of having world class stadiums and transport infrastructure - for the future growth, development and enabling of the country? How do you calculate the benefits of impressing hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors to our shores, with our warmth, hospitality, facilities, and tourism capabilities across the board? How then to appraise our ability to get things done efficiently, on time and to exacting international standards? How do we quantify the value of the international coverage that we received, to one of the largest TV audiences focused on one event ever?

In short, we can’t. Not yet, anyway. The positives outweigh the negatives to a degree only dreamed of by hardened optimists before the event. The financial and economic benefits will take time to materialise and we won’t always be able to trace their source back to one event. The country’s challenges have not miraculously disappeared, nor is anyone suggesting they have. In fact, the World Cup may have increased certain economic challenges for the country, evidenced by the way certain unions used the World cup as leverage to negotiate far above inflation remuneration increases.

Net net, (a wonderful financial term for ‘after all things considered’) – this World Cup has been a phenomenal marketing and sales success for South Africa Pty. We have opened thousands of potentially new customer’s ears, eyes and hearts to our products and our brand – what more could one hope of a convention? We now have to follow up with the hard graft of closing sales, and walking the walk – but the road is looking good.