Stability and predictability of institutions, a free press and a transparent Constitution and government give South Africa an advantage over many developing countries in attracting investment, but more must be done to stamp out corruption, says Goldman Sachs International MD Colin Coleman.
Coleman was addressing the International Entrepreneurship and Investment Conference in Durban on Thursday on the challenges and opportunities facing African countries in terms of economic development.
Africa, despite challenges like infrastructure shortages, political instability and health issues, is increasingly attracting foreign investment.
According to Coleman, Brazilian investors are active in West African countries and the Chinese are involved in economic projects all over Africa. India and some large South African companies are also making their presence felt in African countries.
Indian companies are active in the manufacturing, tourism and property development sectors, while China’s investment lies in infrastructure and resource extraction across Africa.
Coleman drew attention to the positive economic impact by South African companies MTN, Standard Bank and Shoprite in other parts of the continent.
He said that, for now, South Africa was one of the leading economies on the continent, given its admission into the BRICS grouping of influential developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA – and other important international institutions.
Easier place to conduct business
BJM Securities chief executive Andile Mazwai told delegates that South Africa, in comparison to other emerging markets, was an easier place to conduct business. He also warned, however, that corruption, as well as health and safety issues, had to be dealt with immediately.
He pointed out that countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo had rich natural resources, but lacked the technical know-how to maximise opportunities to attract investment.