South Africa says Earth Summit worth the money
CAPE TOWN - The giant Johannesburg Earth Summit was more expensive than initially estimated, but earned more for the country than it cost South African taxpayers, Environment Minister Valli Moosa said yesterday.
\"At the end of the day, the message I get is that the taxpayer got value for money for the summit,\" Moosa, the chief organiser of the 10-day event, told SABC radio.
Moosa said the government had spent a total of 620 million rand ($58 million) staging the U.N.\'s World Summit on Sustainable Development, also known as the Earth Summit.
This was higher than the official estimate of between 500 to 550 million rand that Moosa gave in November last year, as plans began to gel for the gathering which ended on September 4.
The summit was the biggest international event South Africa has ever hosted - before, during or since the years of apartheid isolation.
About 45,000 people from 174 countries attended the summit at which about 100 heads of state and government tried to find a formula to fight poverty and protect the planet.
According to Moosa\'s figures yesterday, foreign governments contributed 110 million rand and corporate donors including state-owned South African utilities put up 125 million rand.
Citing a preliminary report commissioned by his department, Moosa said the summit generated direct expenditure by government and the private sector of 2.1 billion rand and new sales in all sectors of the economy of 6.5 billion rand.
\"It is quite clear that...more tax was generated than money was taken out of state coffers,\" he added.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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