According to FIFA, over 26 billion cumulative viewers watched the World Cup play out in stadia across South Africa. Just as the last Olympics opened China to the world, so World Cup 2010 has put the ‘rainbow nation’ on the global stage.
The tournament has had a positive impact on the economy. According to national treasury figures, the government has poured around 33 billion rand into building and renovating stadia and improving the country’s transport infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs in the process. As the tournament got underway, hundreds of thousands of tourists attended the games, providing a major boost to tourism revenues.
But perhaps more importantly, the event gave not only South Africa but the entire African continent the chance to utilize the attention generated by this global sporting event. This was the first time the World Cup played on African soil and as the blanket television coverage unfolded, the world saw not only the football, but all aspects of South African life.
Embracing the excitement
On 2 March 2010, KPMG in South Africa gathered staff and partners from all over the country to mark the remaining 100 days to the first match by flying the national flag.
As Joan van Staden, Senior Manager Marketing and Corporate Citizenship for South Africa, commented at the time: “KPMG has even received coverage on the South Africa official website, which says the firm is clearly up there with the most enthusiastic.”
KPMG continued to support the tournament through a series of events and initiatives in the run-up to kick-off. These included banners on buildings, a viewing of the opening ceremony, the introduction of so-called ‘Football Fridays’ and the publication of both football fact cards and a football-themed magazine entitled ‘Centre Field’.
A watershed moment
The staging of the World Cup represented something of a milestone in South African history. Political transformation and stable governance is currently sweeping through Africa and revitalizing the country’s economy. There are now over 20 stock exchanges on the continent and the rate of return on foreign direct investment is higher in Africa than anywhere else in the developing world. There is an estimated US$130 billion worth of infrastructure investment opportunities in Africa over the next five years. All in all, Africa is performing stronger perhaps than it has ever done before.
KPMG in Africa
KPMG is playing an important role in the economic transformation of South Africa and the wider continent. The firm currently has the single biggest technical services practice of any of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms working in Africa. In order to serve clients more effectively, it was the first major accountancy firm to break its services down into industry-specific lines. KPMG’s investment in the continent has been rewarded by the market. In 2009, despite the global recession, the business was able to post healthy year-on-year growth.
The firm’s support of the World Cup illustrates a willingness to give something back to the communities in which it operates. For instance, KPMG was the first Big Four firm to commit publicly to climate change targets.
The growing economic strength of the African Continent is underlined by South Africa’s ability to successfully stage the World Cup. And for staff and partners at KPMG, Africa is an increasingly exciting place to live, work and do business.