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July 18, 2016

Better late than never as SA plays catch-up in Africa’s markets

   AFRICA is SA’s to lose when it comes to trade and investment, Africans in other parts of the continent often say, referring to the relative sophistication of the country’s business environment, the number of multinational companies based here and its range of manufactured and value-added exports, WRITES DIANNA GAMES.

This is a profile that is enjoyed by no other African country — even though others are rapidly building competitive advantage.

Although SA has, over the years, built an investment, trade and political profile in the rest of Africa, it has not gained the kind of traction it could have had from its early-mover advantage.

The divide between the government and business has been one factor.

Another is the lack of a clear and inclusive commercial strategy for the African continent, with the government focusing its efforts mostly on other regions.

In recent years, we have been shown up by new, and old, investing countries whose Africa strategies are premised on strong public-private partnerships, state visits that are about trade and investment and not a joyride for presidential pals, and a focus on finding opportunities for their companies. Read more ... 

- Published in Business Day SA, 18 July 2016