South Africa Articles & Analysis

The second-largest economy in Africa after Nigeria, South Africa benefits from some of the most sophisticated financial markets in the world, paired with a robust regulatory system, and is also home to the headquarters of a number of major multinational players in the fields of industry, energy and financial services.

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New mall developments and low vacancy rates should create opportunities in South Africa’s retail sector, though economic headwinds could restrict growth prospects in the short term.

While international arrivals remain a mainstay of South Africa’s tourism sector, a revision to the national tourism strategy is looking to stoke growth in the domestic travel industry.

Rising uncertainty over fiscal policy has seen South Africa’s sovereign credit cut to junk status by two rating agencies, although the move appears to have had only a modest impact on the currency thus far, with inflation still within the target range.

Welcome rains in late summer and autumn brought some respite for South Africa’s agricultural producers towards the end of 2016, helping to boost yields and improving the chances of recovery after a two-year contraction.

In a move that bucked broader trends on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), South Africa’s banks saw their share prices jump in 2016, underpinned by a recovery in the commodities market, higher interest earnings and a vote of confidence from ratings agencies.

South Africa’s economy faced another challenging year in 2016, as soft commodity prices, slow domestic demand and an uncertain political outlook combined to limit growth, with prospects for the coming year expected to be only somewhat more positive.