Find Industry and Manufacturing expertise in South Africa
South Africa holds the 52nd most competitive economy in the world (2012–13, World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report) with manufacturing contributing 14.6% of GDP in 2011 and the whole industry sector accounting for 31% of GDP in 2010. The country is classified 39 out of 185 countries by the World Bank for ease of doing business, a ranking based on how conducive the regulatory environment is to the opening and operation of a local firm. The same study places South Africa first in the world for getting credit and tenth best for protecting investors. Industry workers made up almost a quarter of total employment in 2010 (24.3%, World Bank) and industrial production was estimated to be growing at a rate of 0.8% in 2012 (CIA World Factbook). Annual growth of manufacturing is estimated to have slowed between 2010 and 2012 (World Bank).
South Africa’s manufacturing sector covers all varieties of produce, from extractive industries to automobile assembly and foodstuffs. It is the largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium in the world (CIA World Factbook), with mining and minerals processing generating more than half of total export revenue (2010); 80% of the world’s platinum is still supplied by South Africa, and it is the fourth largest producer of diamonds globally. The automotive industry has traditionally been the largest sub-sector and many multinational companies use the country to source components and assemble automobiles. Other industries include metalworking and commercial ship repair as well as the production of textiles, iron, steel, chemicals, fertiliser and foodstuffs (CIA World Factbook).
South Africa has well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors, with major firms and companies including: Adams & Adams, a leading law firm in the country; Anglo American South Africa Ltd, a global mining company; AstraZeneca, global supplier of pharmaceuticals; and Audi South Africa, car manufacturers. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is one of the top ten largest stock exchanges in the world and features hundreds of home-grown corporations. South Africa’s modern infrastructure facilitates the distribution of goods and services to major urban centres throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Exports totalled an estimated US$100.7 billion in 2012, with metals, minerals and machinery making up the majority of exported goods. South Africa’s main export partners are China, US and Japan, although some goods are exported to Europe. In 2011 high-technology exports made up 5.1% of manufactured exports (World Bank).
The 2013 Global Competitiveness Report scores and ranks the sophistication of production processes around the world, where a low country score of 1 means “no sophistication and labour intensive” and a high score of 7 means production processes are the “world’s best and apply the most efficient technologies”. In this respect South Africa ranks 43 out of 144 countries with a score of 4.2. At this level South Africa ranks above many of its African counterparts.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) is an umbrella organisation covering all businesses and working to help them be constructive in the South African economy and in terms of the country’s developmental and transformative goals.
Various industry bodies are in existence catering to particular sectors in the country: these include, for example, the Aluminium Federation of South Africa, and the South African Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA).