South Africa Economy

Chapter | Table of Contents from The Report: South Africa 2016

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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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Economic zones in Africa have had a significant impact on trade volumes across the continent, as well as on job creation and foreign direct investment inflows.

The African PE industry has become increasingly complex and diverse, with the arrival of global institutional investors in recent years paving the way for some of the world’s largest firms to enter the market. Between 2014 and 2019 the total value of the 1053 PE deals reported in Africa reached $25.4bn. While deal volumes have maintained an upward trend, their value has gradually eased, suggesting growing investor interest but smaller deal sizes. Moreover, in addition to consumer-driven industries, PE fund managers have diversified their strategies to invest across a variety of sectors such as IT, renewable energy, infrastructure and real estate.

A strong mid-year performance helped lift South Africa’s economy out of recession and back into positive territory in 2017. However, factors such as high unemployment and an expanding deficit could rein in growth in 2018.

Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s minister of finance, delivered the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to Parliament on October 25, outlining a mix of partial privatisations and infrastructure spending aimed at spurring economic growth while still pursuing fiscal consolidation.

South Africa has recovered from its recession, though investors remain cautious given policy uncertainties and waning business sentiment.

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.

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