South African President Jacob Zuma has used the gathering of the 2010 World Economic Forum in Switzerland to highlight South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cup readiness.
President Zuma told delegates that the tournament offered an opportunity for the world to see and experience Africa in a different way.
“We are also here at Davos during an exciting year for South Africa. We will in a few months host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the biggest event of its kind to have ever taken place in South Africa and in Africa.
“It is an opportunity to tackle stereotypes and preconceptions about the continent, and explore new frontiers of interaction and cooperation. It is an important milestone in the regeneration of the continent,” he said.
Zuma said the year 2010 also marked a significant celebration in South Africa’s political history.
“2010 is also an important year for us, because we will be marking the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, which kick-started dramatic political changes. The decades of the struggle against apartheid by South Africans, supported by Africa and the world, had yielded results,” he said.
“We have achieved a lot since that dramatic day of the 11th of February 1990. South Africa has performed admirably in the economic, political and social spheres. This includes the political transition to a democratic state, the subsequent strengthening of South Africa’s democratic institutions, as well as economic growth,” The President said.
The President said South Africa was ready to host the World Cup.
“We say boldly that South Africa is ready to welcome the world to Africa, in June-July 2010. We have worked for many years for this exciting tournament.
Other than the football games that South Africans will be privileged to be part of, the country’s potential as a destination for business, trade and tourism will be on display during the World Cup tournament,” he said
President Zuma said hosting the World Cup had prompted major infrastructure upgrades.
“The country’s transport, energy, telecommunications and social infrastructure are being upgraded and expanded. This is contributing to economic development in the midst of a global recession, while improving conditions for investment”.