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South Africa remains ready and open for business despite challenges

Focus Africa

South Africa, a multi-faceted country, long heralded as the gateway to Africa. With a population of over 55 million people, the country is Africa’s most developed economy.

Sound policies over the years have positioned South Africa as a key player in the global economic landscape making it the only African country in the G20 group of nations.

But, recent headwinds in the world economy have slowed growth in the country, prompting South Africa’s government to tap into new frontiers for growth.

“We have seen huge capital injection in the motor industry in this country. Be it coming from the American companies or German companies and so on. We have seen good growth.

“The other growth that is showing good potential is in terms of the ocean economy. Remember the ocean economy is an area that we have never spent a lot of resources on.

“Now there is a clear government strategy to revitalize and really inject some oomph in the ocean economy and we are starting to see good numbers that are emerging,” explained Dr. Kingsley Makhubela, CEO, Brand South Africa.

South Africa’s financial market is the most developed in the continent as well as globally acclaimed. At the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), about 400 companies are listed on the bourse.

It is this financial maturity that makes the country an attractive investment destination for both foreign and local investors. The Exchange which is currently ranked 19th largest in the world by market capitalization, is Africa’s largest exchange.

“We’ve had markets legislation in our country since the 1940’s and we have now a very developed ecosystem around investing and raising capital. So the assets of our non-banks are about 9 trillion rand about twice the size or just under the twice the size of the assets of the banks.

“And those institutional investors operate in an environment that is very robust in terms of the ability not only to raise capital, but also the ability to invest capital, but also the ability for participants in our economy to hedge themselves,” said Donna Nemer, Director for Capital Markets and Group Strategy at the JSE.

In addition to its financial sector, South Africa’s government is breathing new life to other key economic pillars such as infrastructure development and manufacturing.

Of particular interest is the Dube TradePort, a multi-million dollar hub spanning over 3,000 hectares, located in the port city of Durban.

The industrial hub is considered one of South Africa’s top investment opportunities and is geared to springboard foreign and local investment.

The CEO, Hamish Erskine, is betting on the project. “Dube tradeport is an economic development project of government but in essence what we are is a special economic zone and we have a very strong focus in manufacturing and logistics for both the South African but also for Africa and the export market as well.”

As the global economy continues to evolve, South Africa has rightfully earned its place at the table. Analysts as well are policy makers are optimistic about the country’s economic future underscoring the notion that Africa’s most industrialized nation remains ready and open for business.

“There are many opportunities and levers that will allow for us the ability to cultivate economic growth of course there are challenges from the point of view that structural reforms that need to take place.

“We believe that there will be an upward mobility in terms of the sort of growth trajectory that you see”, said Asanda Notshe, Fund Manager at Mazi Capital.

Sentiments echoed by Dr. Kingsley Makhubela, CEO, Brand South Africa: “The projection for growth we are hoping that what the IMF and World Bank are projecting will be for our growth next year we are hoping that will be good. if that is good I think we will be able to weather the storm.

“The political situation in the country is healthy it’s democracy in action. Our democracy is maturing. What you are seeing in this country is constant political debates and different solutions that are debated across the political spectrum and I think that is what enriches a democracy.”

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