Historically South Africa has been one of the largest investors in Africa. Yet in recent years it has been facing growing competition from other investors – both from outside Africa (notably, China) and from other African countries. South African policy makers need to respond to the changing investment climate on the continent from an informed base. Yet there have been few (especially recent) studies on South Africa’s investment presence or performance in other African countries. To address this gap, an extensive ‘scoping analysis’ was conducted to probe the investment activities of South Africa’s largest publicly listed companies in other African countries. This policy brief summarises the main findings from the analysis, supported by a review of foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade data. The bulk of South African investment going into Africa comes from the private sector, yet policy makers can still play an important facilitative role by engaging regularly with private sector stakeholders and leveraging available financial resources in mutually beneficial ways. In addition, the South African government should strengthen its regional integration efforts and project a holistic (‘team SA’) attitude, which also reflects an understanding of regional concerns and priorities.
Authors: Yash Ramkolowan, Stephanie Craig & Samantha Munro