As images of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison were beamed around the globe, South Africa was awash with a powerful sense of hope and optimism.
Today, the promise of better times ahead has been almost fully realized: South Africa is now the continent’s most powerful nation, and a shining example of a country that has overcome division to successfully embrace democracy and stability.
Despite all this success, South Africa still has barriers to overcome before it becomes the fully developed nation it wants to be. Economic inequality is a major problem, with 45% of the country’s income earned by 10% of the population.
The five main urban centers, including the administrative capital Pretoria, and tourist hotspots Cape Town and Johannesburg, are magnets of affluence, leaving large areas of the country in financial hardship.
Some studies suggest that around a quarter of the country’s 55 million people live in extreme poverty. Reducing inequality and delivering new jobs is a big priority for the South African government – long-term studies indicate it is succeeding.
"An excellent springboard into other African markets"
Power outages are common in South Africa, but don’t let that fool you. South Africa’s infrastructure is up to the task of supporting a global import and export market. It has a mature transport and logistics infrastructure, legal framework, and tax system, and it’s an excellent springboard into other African markets.
South Africa’s economic growth has stalled in recent years. But all signs point to just a temporary road bump. GDP forecasts paint a sunnier, if cautious, picture of the country’s outlook.
E-commerce is growing fast in South Africa, despite comparatively low internet penetration. Slow economic growth shouldn’t discourage any prospective overseas traders. South Africa is very much open for business.
Want to start exporting to South Africa? Our PDF guide gets you on the road to success.