The 2010 FIFA World Cup must unify and strengthen the relations between ordinary Africans from across the continent, says South African Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko.

Mr Maseko was speaking at the 2010 National Communications Partnership in Johannesburg today.

"One of the outcomes of the 2010 FIFA World Cup must be to strengthen and unify the ordinary peoples of Africa from all across the continent, who will then all become ambassadors for the world cup in South Africa.

"Every individual must show hospitality to football fans from across the world to ensure that these people return to South Africa. They must be able to share and remember our stories, sculptures, music, scenery and hospitality," said Mr Maseko.

The conference themed: Africa's time has come, mobilising for 2010 and beyond, is taking place for the third year.

It aims to provide a platform for communicators from across the continent to share ideas and practical suggestions on how to project a positive image and reputation of the continent to the world.

The world cup, he said, gives Africans the opportunity to tell the continents untold stories, as opposed to the usual stories of war, famine, disease, poverty and under-development.

"It is a chance to send the world new pictures of Africa, pictures of our development and growth, and pictures that show how Africans have taken charge of their own destinies.

"We can only achieve this if we truly believe we can ... and we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by those who say we will fail simply because this is Africa," said the government spokesperson.

Once the 2010 tournament is over, South Africa and Africa would like to see increased tourism, investment and trade as just one of the spin-offs of the world's most watched event.

Chief Communications Officer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) Tim Modise said South Africa will deliver on all the 17 guarantees to FIFA by 2010.

"It is estimated that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will inject about R51 billion into the South African economy," said Mr Modise.

Reiterating what Mr Maseko said, Mr Modise highlighted that the world cup will help to strengthen regional cooperation and build greater ties with Africans across the continent.

The majority of visitors to South Africa during the month long event in 2010 will be Africans said Mr Modise, adding that the success of the event is not the work of the LOC alone, but the responsibility of all South Africans.

"We have said we are going to host a world class event, and a lot of work is underway to ensure this happens.

"The world cup has acted as a catalyst for development in infrastructure, the Gautrain, the Bus Rapid Transport system, airport upgrades, and upgrades to Information Technology infrastructure.

"Upgrading at OR Tambo International Airport will increase passenger capacity from 14 to 21 million by 2010," said Mr Modise. - BuaNews