With a population of about 56 million people, South Africa is an emerging middle-class economy with increasing business potential in various industries and a growing consumer market. Opportunities for business include energy generation, transmission and distribution, mining, transport and logistics, ICT and Healthcare.
South Africa also plays host to the regional offices of many of the Swedish companies operating not only in South Africa but on the rest of the continent. In terms of trade, the country’s accessibility to both the Indian and Atlantic oceans makes it a contending strategic partner for trade with the continent. The port of Durban is regarded as one of the continent’s busiest and biggest cargo port with a handling capacity of over 80 million tons of cargo per annum.
Exports from Sweden into South Africa have increased over 2017-2018 period by about 4.9 percent which is an encouraging business relationship between the countries. Some of the major Swedish exports into South Africa include machinery, vehicles, packaged medicaments, telecommunications hardware, paper and, steel.
The South African market shares many similarities with its Swedish counterpart in terms of innovation, mining and engineering. Energy, ICT and the mining industry are of special interest for Swedish companies, which in recent years attracted attention among South African industry. Several large Swedish industrial companies such as Ericsson, Scania and ABB have been operating in South Africa since the mid-90’s.
One of the main points to note is that in 2003, the South African government implemented the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment programme (BBBEE) legislation with the purpose of addressing the economic differences within the population. This has had a ripple effect on how foreign companies are structured. The Business Sweden office in South Africa offers a service that supports Swedish companies to meet the demands of this Act.
The Business Sweden team in our Johannesburg is a diverse group of individuals coming from different backgrounds giving a holistic perspective to the approach on doing business in the region. The team is responsible for covering Southern Africa i.e. Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, eSwatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.