Brazil–Africa: What Is South Africa’s role?

by Ntshikiwane Joseph Mashimbye*

South Africa, with its excellent financial and physical infrastructure is an interesting base for Brazilian investment and expansion into the rest of Africa.

A decade ago Brazil opened several diplomatic missions in African countries. Was this decision based on ideology or was it visionary?

The African continent, with its 55 countries is presenting an ever-increasing opportunity for trade, investment and co-operation. This year the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) was established, in order to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. The CFTA will provide access to a market of more than one billion people.

Intensive efforts are underway to accelerate infrastructure development and industrialization on the African continent, and to expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa in general.

Many African countries have been enjoying GDP growth rates in excess of 5% per annum. Six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are African countries. The African Development Bank (ADB) predicts in its Africa Economic Outlook 2018 that the 3.7% real output growth estimated for Africa in 2017 will increase to 4.1% in 2018 and 2019. This shows Africa’s resilience to recover from the global and domestic shocks of 2016.

The African Agenda has been prioritised within the BRICS Partnership. The BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy aims to strengthen business, trade, and investment ties amongst the business communities of the five BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. By extension it supports economic development in Africa and in South America by helping to diversify economic cooperation amongst developing countries, who have in the past, had to rely solely on economic co-operation with developed countries.

All these developments present the business community of Brazil with wonderful opportunities to expand their business into Africa.

South Africa, with its excellent financial and physical infrastructure is an interesting base for Brazilian investment and expansion into the rest of Africa.

South Africa has established Investment South Africa (ISA) that promotes and facilitates investment and aftercare for investors. It increases the ease of doing business by identifying bottlenecks and administrative challenges by serving as a One-Stop-Shop to facilitate the entire investment value chain and provides specialist advisory services to investors.

South Africa also offers various incentive schemes for investors.

It is only the Atlantic Ocean that separates us. Let us build on our share heritage and our shared vision for the future.

*Ntshikiwane Joseph Mashimbye is Ambassador of South Africa in Brazil