Rio 2016: Momentum Must Be Sustainable

Published on 30th August 2016

The just concluded Rio Olympic summer games have been a boost to Brazil’s long term goals in terms of increased tourism, trade, foreign investment and infrastructure development. Brazil was able to successfully host the two weeks event in spite of negative publicity about the country’s ill preparedness to host the games. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee however expressed confidence in the country’s ability to host major sporting events. Brazil the world’s ninth largest economy has experienced significant growth and development in the last decade. This has attracted foreign exchange, expansion of the middle class and reduction of poverty.

Although Brazil was allocated USD $240 billion for the Olympics from the Growth Acceleration Program, most of its revenue came from lucrative deals like advertisement, marketing rights and licensing, sponsorships from multinational corporations such as Panasonic, Coca-Cola, Nissan, Samsung, and McDonalds. The high market tourism also generated revenue for Brazil with The over 500,000 tourists who visited Rio during the summer games were a boon to the country’s income generation.

The Olympics saw the country increase its work force, invest in security, offer accommodation, improve on its transport system, embrace technology and work on its public relations. It is hoped that this momentum will be sustained and lead to improved living standards among the citizens of Brazil.

It is well argued that both the short and the long term benefits of hosting world sporting events is highly overrated leaving the hosting countries in financial crisis and a burden to the taxpayers. The bidding process of hosting such mega events should be transformed to include sustainable investments and create proper budgetary planning. The countries hosting such international events of significant importance should ensure that the games fit into their broader planning strategy that promotes socio – economic development for sustainability.

As Rio basks in glory and prepares to host the Paralympic games in September, the country should not overlook the plague of corruption, unemployment, recession, inequality, violence, Zika virus and the ongoing process of impeaching its president Dilma Rousseff. With the same energy the country marshalled to hold the global games successfully, it should use equal energy to address these challenges that stand to taint its image. 

By Simon Achieno,

Current Affairs Analyst.

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