Findings from research conducted by Bloom Consulting show that South Africa is a competitive and attractive destination to do business, invest, and visit. These findings emerged from the Global Reputation Study, which aims to understand investor perceptions of South Africa as an investment destination and a country to do business with. In compiling the study, Bloom surveyed and rated the perceptions of 10 000 participants comprising investors and travellers from 13 countries. The study also sought to measure South Africa’s Nation Brand competitiveness and appeal in the following key markets: United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, China, Japan, India, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it also aimed to measure South Africa’s Nation Brand competitiveness and appeal against our country’s emerging market competitors: Nigeria or Egypt, Vietnam or Thailand, United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Turkey, Chile or Brazil. This measurement against these peers was based on these following strategic attributes: Tourism, Talent, Prominence, Trade, and Investment. Trade and Tourism proved to be South Africa’s strongest attributes with up to 70% of the 10, 000 respondents indicating their willingness to visit or do business with the country.
Despite some respondents raising concerns about crime and safety, the overall perception of the country has improved during 2021 with up to 45% of respondents saying that their perception has improved, compared to merely 3% of those stating that it has worsened.
Most of the respondents rated South Africa among the Top 5 places they are willing to visit, invest or do business, and relocate.
Sithembile Ntombela, Acting CEO of Brand SA, said the findings of the study confirmed South Africa’s status as a low-risk, attractive investment destination that is a location of choice for multinationals looking to expand across Africa.
“South Africa is not only blessed with mineral wealth, but it also possesses world-class infrastructure, experienced and entrepreneurial management pool, and a skilled workforce that gives companies that set up shop on our shores competitive edge relative to their peers operating on the continent,” explained Ntombela.
According to the study, South Africa’s brand was perceived to be as strong as that of UAE, Turkey, Thailand, and Brazil. Many of the respondents rated South Africa among the Top 5 countries to do business with. Businesspeople and investors familiar with the country rate their experience in the country as among the best, rating their experience as in the same level as doing business with the United Kingdom, UAE, and Turkey.
The recovery in South Africa’s tourism was reflected in the study, with the sector proving to be one of the South Africa’s strongest brand attributes. Travelers have a positive perception and experience of South Africa as a tourism destination, rating the country in the Top 5 travel destinations along with strong brands such as Turkey, Egypt and Thailand.
Up to 75% of tourists would love to visit South Africa, expressing that they were attracted by its diverse Nature, Wildlife, Culture and Climate. The study also showed that expatriates adore their experience in South Africa. They rated South Africa as the second preferred destination for international workers along with the UAE and ahead of Thailand and Brazil. International students also rate their experience in South Africa as wonderful, rating the country in the same league as strong brands like Turkey and the UAE.
Ntombela said she expected South Africa’s Nation Brand competitiveness and appeal to continue showing significant improvement as the country implements the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and Operation Vulindlela – a programme led by the Presidency and National Treasury to fast-track implementation of structural reforms in key sectors such as energy, logistics, and energy. The economic recovery plan and structural reforms are aimed at stimulating the South African economy and attracting investment.