Briefing Paper

Emerging Commercial Rivalries in Africa: A View from South Africa

The growing importance of emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China on the global stage, and their interest in Africa’s resources, has real implications for Africa. This is particularly so for South Africa, a significant local investor on the continent.

The new pattern of trade and investment in the South–South zone is not only changing perceptions of Africa as a value proposition, it is also changing the way business is being done. This has both positive and negative implications for African countries and companies operating in these markets.

The new wave of investment offers benefits for SA companies in other African markets. These include: increased economic activity and new customers for goods and services; infrastructure improvements; opportunities for strategic partnerships; and potential linkages with the home markets of these investors. On the downside, there are issues related to corruption, the apparent countenance of poor governance, increased competition and undermining of local producers with cheap imports.

This briefing examines the changing nature of business in Africa as a result of the rapid entry of new investors from the global South, and assesses the effects on SA’s continental ambitions.