UP academic considers cost of hosting Olympics on African soil

Posted on August 31, 2016

Dr Heinrich Bohlmann, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Pretoria, was recently interviewed on the BBC's 'Focus on Africa' segment regarding the possibility of Africa hosting the Olympic Games and what the associated costs would be.

He noted that, despite the excitement such events bring to hosting countries or cities, it becomes too great a cost to justify for a developing nation once the opportunity cost of building event-specific infrastructure is translated into number of roads, schools, hospitals, etc.  

'Instead of acting as a catalyst for growth and investment, hosting the Olympics may well become a distraction to the development process of poorer communities, as scarce resources are diverted.'

He further stated that strong institutions and investment in education and productivity-enhancing infrastructure are the proven drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and should not require the hosting of an Olympics, or any other mega-event, to be prioritised.

South Africa has successfully hosted large sporting events in the past, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and would undoubtedly be able to host a successful Olympics if needed, he said.

'The decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games and instead focus on hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games – an important, yet much smaller event – was a wise decision. Africa's time will come; patience and commitment to building institutions that promote sustainable growth and development now will enable a future in which hosting an Olympic Games can be enjoyed by all,' he concluded.


- Author Department of Economics

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences