World Cup a Potential Goldmine

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK The historic 2010 Fifa World Cup to be hosted by South Africa presents a potential goldmine for Namibian business people who should start strategizing on how to profit from the opportunities presented by the multi-billion-dollar global soccer event. These were the views of the Minister of Trade and Industry, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, who recently spoke to New Era about the multi-faceted bilateral economic cooperation agreement he recently signed with his South African counterpart, Mandisi Mpahlwa. Multi-million-dollar tenders for the upgrading of existing football stadiums, the upgrading of roads and airports and a new railway and train service, refurbishment and erection of new hotels are underway in anticipation of the soccer showcase in that country. Ngatjizeko says the 2010 global football extravaganza would not only have economic spin-offs for South Africa – the host – but SADC, realizing the vast benefits, had had talks on how best the sub-region and Africa as a whole could have a piece of the cake. “It was discussed at SADC regional level, and it was decided that this forthcoming cup is not only important for South Africa or SADC but it is a very, very important event for the totality of the continent. And therefore, it was decided SADC should support this project for it to be realized and to be concluded successfully,” he stated during the interview. “From our side being neighbours and having this bilateral relationship, we also thought at the recent meeting to re-emphasize that SADC position, and to offer ourselves as a neighbouring country that can help make things succeed in South Africa. And also as a country to benefit from that situation,” he said. Ngatjizeko said since South African firms usually tender for capital projects that arise locally, he trusts those involved in the allocation of construction tenders for projects related to 2010 would not block Namibian companies from expressing their interests for such projects. “I am quite sure our business people will not be prevented from tendering there so long as they meet the tendering procedures, because you also find South Africans tendering here,” said Ngatjizeko when asked about the chances of locals securing these tenders. “Even without the 2010, we are in the same customs union, and business is done over the borders between our two countries without many hurdles. But I cannot say there will be construction contracts that will be given solely to Namibians as they will have to follow the tendering procedures in the same way we do here,” he elaborated. Because of the proximity of the host of the 2010 global football event to Namibia, the Trade and Industry Minister said, “Local business people in general should look into the situation coming up and not only the 2010 in South Africa as there is another 2010 northward, which is Angola hosting the Africa Cup. Shrewd and creative business people will start to plan how to make money out of these two situations. “So you can think of the possibility of providing accommodation or expanding hotel accommodation, and the possibility of providing the facilities for these teams that will be coming to South Africa and Angola,” he appealed to business people. With regard to 2010, Namibia has established a Cabinet Committee “that plans all sort of things” to ensure the country maximizes its gains from the event in a SADC context. There have been suggestions that the German national soccer team could establish a training camp in Namibia because of the two countries’ colonial links and because of a sizeable number of German speakers in Namibia, while the Brazilians are likely to set up camp either in Angola or in Mozambique because of the similarities in their languages. If this is to happen, some in the hospitality sectors of the countries chosen for such training camps could smile all the way to the local banks because these teams seemingly have bottomless pockets and they are known for spending big, but they insist on quality.