South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy in 2014 and over the past two decades has become an important economy both on the African continent and the global stage .In its 2014 Doing Business in South Africa report, the World Bank rated South Africa as one of the easiest economies in the sub-Saharan region for doing business; with a global ranking of 41, the country far outstrips the regional average of 147, reiterating its position as a springboard for investment into the rest of the continent. As a member of the Southern Africa Development Community, South Africa offers investors access to a region with current GDP growth of 6%.
While the South African economy has a marked duality, with an informal economy operating in tandem with its globally recognised sophisticated financial and industrial economy, investors can expect a well capitalised banking system and highly developed regulatory systems. This includes top ranked audit and accounting standards, a well-regulated stock exchange and world-class commercial legislation governing competition policy, copyright, patents and trademarks. The country’s modern infrastructure supports the efficient distribution of goods throughout the southern African region and the government has committed to an ongoing infrastructure development programme. The Infrastructure Development Bill was passed by Parliament in March 2014, ensuring that the South African infrastructure grows sufficiently to serve the expanding economy and population.
As with all developing economies, South Africa faces challenges including high levels of unemployment. This is a key priority for the government and forms the basis of the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan, a strategic roadmap which outlines a broad range of interventions that, by 2030, aim to expand economic opportunities for all by improving the country’s skills base and infrastructure, eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.
This guide to establishing a presence in South Africa is Grant Thornton’s practical pocket guide that outlines the key aspects for business investment in the country. If you are planning on doing business in South Africa, it’s vital that you understand the investment environment and have all the information necessary on the legal, accounting and taxation frameworks to ensure that you are doing it right. This reference guide will provide you with the key fundamentals that you need to know.