Article: A View to Brazil(May 07, 2014)
Article Published in The House Magazine on 7th May 2014
Sport has always been a catalyst for peace and cooperation. In Brazil this summer 32 nations will come together to compete for the most prized trophy in world football, and in 2016 over 200 nations will assemble to compete for medals in all the major sports from around the world. The World Cup and Olympics bring together peoples and cultures that would otherwise rarely come into contact, and provide economic and political benefits for the host nation.
The first benefit is the ability for the host country to increase investment in the development of infrastructure.
This includes transport links, stadiums,sporting facilities, schools and health centres, commercial buildings, and apartments. Brazil is already investing R$500bn (£133bn) in modernising existing infrastructure. The Olympics and World Cup will see the Brazilian government invest a further R$36.6bn (£9.6bn), with particular benefits for regions that have traditionally had poor transport links. For example, Manaus will receive R$5bn (£1.3bn) for an airport upgrade, improved transport, and better connections to the national grid.
Brazil will benefit from an increase in international trade, as foreign companies bid for major construction contracts. British businesses have already won £70m worth of contracts for the World Cup and Rio, after our own successful Olympics. It’s a great opportunity for Britain to increase our trade with Brazil, one of the BRIC countries with the world’s seventh largest economy.
Currently only 1.5% of Brazilian imports come from the UK compared to 14% from China and 6.8% from Germany. Brazil will raise its international profile and highlight its unique culture. Look at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, which China used to redefine itself to the world as a modern and diverse country. London 2012, similarly, gave us an opportunity to showcase our rich culture which caught the international imagination. The increased international profile has widened respect for Britain and China, and has led to greater political engagement which wouldn’t have been the case without the Olympics. Brazil will also benefit from this politically as well as economically.
The World Cup in Brazil will be one of the greenest ever. New stadiums have been built using sustainable materials, have recyclable features, and will be powered by renewable energy. The aim is to show that Brazil is a world leader in sustainable environmental policy. What every host nation needs to ask is what the infrastructure will be used for after the sporting event, i.e. the legacy. Brazil should look to London’s legacy for inspiration: since 2012, the Olympic Village has been turned into affordable housing, the Olympic Stadium is set for use by local football team West Ham, and the upgrading of transport links has increased London’s transport capacity.
A wider legacy also includes the development of present and future athletes. 2012 saw Britain have its best medal haul. Brazil is already a well-developed football nation, but I believe Rio 2016 will see success for a raft of South American athletes and inspire a generation of athletes to come.
In addition, success by a nation’s athletes brings a wider interest in sport which can help tackle health problems in young people and older people alike. It is clear that the economic, political, social and health benefits of hosting the World Cup and the Olympics can bring immense rewards to any nation, but in particular a developing nation such as Brazil.
Published on 9th May 2014 in The House Magazine