Spotlight:South Africa

South Africa - What makes this diverse and dynamic nation a prime destination for investors, entrepreneurs, skilled workforce, and tourists? How does South Africa fare in global rankings for economic development, ease of doing business, talent attraction, and sustainable practices?

Join us as we explore the strategies and success stories that drive South Africa's growth and global admiration. Discover:

  • South Africa’s investment landscape and economic potential
  • The nation’s appeal in attracting global businesses and skilled talent
  • South Africa’s approach to sustainability and green economy

Embracing UNSDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Why South Africa?

Robust Green Investment Ecosystem

South Africa is one of the leading destinations for Cleantech Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the African continent, driven by significant government incentives and private sector initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability and green energy.

Sophisticated Financial Markets

South Africa’s financial markets are among the most sophisticated in emerging markets. The country boasts a sound legal and regulatory framework, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) being the largest on the African continent.

Quality Infrastructure and Robust Logistics Sector

With the largest and longest interconnected road network in sub-Saharan Africa, modern airport infrastructure, and top-ranking ports, South Africa’s logistics and transport systems support efficient trade and transport.

Abundant Natural Resources

South Africa is rich in natural resources, including the largest reserves of Platinum-group metals, Manganese, and Chromite in the world. These resources are critical for global transitions to green economies, offering vast opportunities for investment in mining and related industries.

Favorable Market Access to Regional Markets

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) positions South Africa as a gateway to a market of over 1 billion people, enhancing trade and investment opportunities across the continent.

Manufacturing Hub

South Africa’s well-developed and diversified manufacturing base competes globally, supplying products across various sectors such as automotive, food processing, and textiles. This robust manufacturing sector is ripe for foreign direct investment.

Largest Presence of Multinationals in Africa

South Africa is the preferred investment destination for many multinational companies, with over 180 Fortune Global 500 companies operating in the country. These companies benefit from South Africa’s strategic location, skilled workforce, and robust infrastructure.

Celebrating 30 Years of Democracy

In 2024, South Africa celebrates 30 years of democracy, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s history. Since the first democratic elections on April 27, 1994, South Africa has made tremendous strides in promoting equality, justice, and development. This year’s celebrations not only honor the journey of overcoming past challenges but also focus on driving future growth and investment. As an influential nation brand, South Africa leverages its democratic values and strategic global partnerships to champion development across the continent.

Join us in celebrating this momentous occasion and reflecting on three decades of freedom, progress, and resilience.

South Africa's Performance in Global Rankings and Indices

  • Global Soft Power Index 2023: Highest ranking African nation in soft power.
  • U.S. News Best Countries 2023: 46th globally, excels in heritage (24th) and power (29th).
  • Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index 2023: 42nd, strong in exports, tourism, and culture.
  • Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023: 68th, good at attracting talent, challenges in vocational skills.
  • IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2023: 61st, strengths in business efficiency, needs improvement in government efficiency and infrastructure.
  • Environmental Performance Index 2022: 116th, indicating room for improvement in environmental sustainability.
  • CAF World Giving Index 2023: 57th, strong culture of helping strangers.

How skilled is South Africa's workforce?

In addition to a population that skews largely young and urbanized, South Africa boasts some of the best universities on the continent. In fact, South Africa is home to four of the top five universities in Africa. Around the country, institutions like University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University produce more than 200,000 graduates each year, with the largest percentage of university students graduating with science, engineering and technology degrees. In addition, 700,000 students are enrolled in technical and vocational training colleges.

Destination South Africa

South Africa's reputation for its strong quality of life attracts companies and talent from around the world, offering a combination of metropolitan lifestyle and breathtaking landscapes. Residents enjoy 300 hours of sunshine each month and mild, sun-filled winters.

South African cities are among the most affordable places to live and work and provides access to world-class restaurants and shopping. Well-connected flight networks also make it easy to find direct flights to most major international destinations across every continent.

The country ranks as the top African country for healthcare, with a well-established network or medical facilities and providers. In the ranking, EG Scholars states that South Africa offers "medical services that matches those of its European, Asian, and American counterparts."

South Africa's diverse natural geography is unrivaled recreation opportunities for lovers of the outdoors. From picturesque beaches to open plains to lush forests, visitors and residents could spend a lifetime exploring the beauty of South Africa and still not see everything.

South Africa shoreline

Behind the Scenes: Brand South Africa

In 2023, Brand South Africa celebrated its 20-year anniversary, marking two decades of dedication to building and enhancing the nation's global image and competitiveness.

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency responsible for managing the nation’s brand reputation. Its mission is to inspire pride, patriotism, and social cohesion among South Africans while enhancing the country's global competitiveness.

Through initiatives like the One Stop Shop for business, South Africa aims to lower the cost of doing business, simplify administrative procedures, and eliminate bottlenecks. This initiative provides a single point of contact for investors to engage with government departments regarding needs such as registration, permits, and regulations.

Brand South Africa also focuses on active citizenship through its "Play Your Part" program, encouraging South Africans to contribute to positive change and nation-building. This program has become a nationwide movement that celebrates and empowers active citizenship.

Q&A with Sithemhile Ntombela

Since 2011 overseeing the country's brand strategy, Sithembile Ntombela knows a thing or two about South Africa's country branding - the challenges and success strategies.

Produced in partnership with Brand South Africa. Interested in showcasing your region, country or city? Contact us!