The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) formally awarded the 2022 Games to Durban, South Africa Wednesday at the organization’s General Assembly is Auckland, New Zealand.
The unanimous vote from the federation confirmed Durban’s place in history as the first-ever African host of the the Commonwealth Games. The event has been held since 1930 after it debuted in Hamilton, Canada. The games are scheduled to open July 22, the birthday of Nelson Mandela.
The highly-anticipated announcement was broadcast live across South Africa during the early morning hours.
The bid estimates that a budget of (USD) $481 million will be required to organize the event but promises to boost South Africa’s GDP and employment.
Durban became the sole bidder for the 2018 Games in February after the city’s only rival Edmonton was forced to withdraw from the competition when falling oil prices left the Canadian city’s budget in a deficit. Still, Durban needed financial backing from the South African government before it could be awarded the Games – but those assurance were received just last week clearing the path for Wednesday’s positive vote.
During a 30-minute presentation ahead of the final election, Durban Mayor James Nxumalo expressed to the CGF that his city was well-prepared to host the Games.
He said “today marks a gigantic leap in the affirmation and positive trajectory for the continent of Africa. It is a moment to seize and firmly anchor our position as a decisive force in sport.”
“This is the first time that Africa will host the Commonwealth Games and will position South Africa as a sport tourism destination and also provide opportunities for Team South Africa,” a statement from the Cabinet last week said after its approval was given to the Games.
— Durban2022 (@Durban2022) September 2, 2015
Since South Africa campaigned a losing bid for the 2004 Olympic Games in Cape Town, the nation has continued to have aspirations to host the Olympics. Durban has been at the focus since and hosted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in 2011. A successful Commonwealth Games is seen as a possible stepping stone to that goal.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games are set to be held in Gold Coast, Australia.