Gateway to Africa
Not only is South Africa itself an important emerging economy, it is also the gateway to other African markets. The country plays a significant role in supplying energy, relief aid, transport, communications and investment on the continent. Its well-developed road and rail links provide the platform and infrastructure for ground transportation deep into Africa.
Home to 6% of the continent's population, South Africa produces 23% of Africa's GDP, boasts 45% of its mineral production and 50% of its buying power.
South Africa has the resident marketing skills, distribution channels, and cultural and linguistic know-how imperative for commercial ventures into Africa.
According to a 2003 report by LiquidAfrica Research, South Africa was the largest investor in the rest of Africa between 1990 and 2000, ploughing US$12.5-billion into the continent over the decade.
South African company MTN is the leading mobile-phone operator in Africa, with 500-million people in its footprint area and more than 28-million subscribers. It is also Africa's first-ever global sponsor of the Fifa Football World Cup, with a US$65-million investment in the 2010 tournament.
SABMiller, formerly South African Breweries, is one of the world's largest beverage companies, with major interests in over 60 countries on five continents.
In Africa, it operates in Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Mozambique, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Algeria and Morocco. Beverage sales across the continent totalled 11.3-billion litres in the 2006 financial year.
Illovo Sugar is Africa's biggest sugar producer, with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Mozambique. Annual sugar output amounts to some 1.9-million tons.
Packaging giant Nampak has embarked on an ambitious programme of expansion into Africa. In 2003 Nampak's global revenue stood at R18.4-billion, and 6% of profits were generated by African operations outside of South Africa in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Shoprite Group is Africa's largest food retailer, with 846 corporate outlets in 17 countries across Africa, the Indian Ocean and southern Asia, and a turnover of R33.5-billion for the 12 months to June 2006.