Durban named host city of 2022 Commonwealth Games

For the first time ever, an African city will play host to the commonwealth games as Durban, South Africa’s third largest city has been named host of the Commonwealth Games of 2022following a unanimous vote by the Commonwealth Games Federation in Auckland, New Zealand. The event has moved across continents will Vancouver, Perth, Kuala Lumpur and Delhi all playing hosts but finally, Africa will get its chance.

Following the announcement of the hosting award, there was overwhelming pride on the part of South Africans particularly within the teams that played key roles in putting the bid together.

Gideon Sam, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee confirmed Durban’s readiness to host saying: “I stand before you today an extremely proud South African. We are ready to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, for the very first time on African soil, in Durban South Africa in 2022.”

Similarly, James Nxumalo, Mayor of Durban described the hosting award as a landmark moment for the entire continent.

“Today marks a gigantic leap in the affirmation and positive trajectory for the continent of Africa,” he said.  “It is a moment to seize and firmly anchor our position as a decisive force in sports worldwide. There can be no better symbolism for South Africa and the Commonwealth of Nations to mark its first ever Games in 2022 in Africa with the opening ceremony on 18 July – the birthday of the greatest statesman of our times, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a hero and role model for many, young and old – Nelson Mandela,” he added.

Durban won the vote without opposition from any host city as Edmonton, Canada withdrew its bid for the 2022 event in February due to economic crisis occasioned by falling oil prices globally.

What’s in it for Durban?

Conventionally, hosting events are seen to come with double effects as they are regarded as negative and positive. While the city’s profile is raised and its infrastructure is developed to enable it welcome and host the hundreds of thousands who will troop in for the event, there is also the potential that hosting events puts a big financial strain on the cities.

Edmonton’s decision to drop its bid brings the latter point into focus as its estimated budget to host the event stood at CAD$1 billion. However, recent precedents suggests that if properly planned, organized, run and executed, the Commonwealth Games can leave a positive effect on local economies.

The Glasgow 2014 games has been widely hailed as the best ever as the Local Organizing Committee not only operated firmly within its budget and eventually recorded a budget surplus, the games also had measurable impact on the Scottish economy. The Games contributed more than £740 million to Scotland’s economy and supported more than 15, 000 jobs. The event attracted almost 700,000 visitors who also impacted the economy with net spending measured to be at about £73 million.

Sounding positive, Mark Alexander, the Chairman of the Bid Committee hailed the potential of the event to increase growth rates in development of the city.

“This bid to host the Commonwealth Games will accelerate the progress the City is making in construction and development, and in building a more inclusive citizenry,” he said. “Through the Games we aim to build greater social cohesion, create opportunities for empowerment, boost prosperity and ensure equality, while also fast-tracking economic growth in our country. The Commonwealth Games in Durban will be a game changer for the City”, he also added.

The organizing committee of Durban 2022 has already established an operating budget of around $470 million but projects that the positive economic effects of the Games could be as much as $1.8 billion.

The Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games further enhances South Africa as Africa’s foremost sports destination having proved its pedigree with the World Cup in 2010. The 2022 Commonwealth Games will last from July 18 till July 31, 2015

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