By Harold Schenk
Representative for the South African Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta
SA Representative for the North South Forum
South African American Chamber of Commerce
Do you want to expand your business or services internationally?
The South African American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta aims to provide a variety of services for the building of effective business relationships between companies in South Africa / Sub Saharan Africa and the United States of America. We create and promote the pathway for bilateral trade, cultural relationships, educational, social and sports activities in both countries.
As the South African representative for the Chamber, and on behalf of the Board of Directors of SAACOC, I wish to convey how very excited we are to promote business development between South Africa / Africa and the United States. We are looking for businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, organizations etc from the USA, Africa and South Africa that would be interested in collaborating in future business ventures or make use of our services.
SA / USA Investment and trade opportunities
While a financial pandemic sweeps over the rest of the world, South Africa set new investment records last year, with its private equity funds growing to R103 billion, or 3.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), compared to the global average of 2.7 percent.
International investors are taking a chance on South African start-ups, especially in Internet related industries. (Internet access in the country is set to double in the next five years and a recent study found that 80 percent of South African Internet users shop online.) However, investors are finding great opportunities to fund a wide range of start-ups, such as businesses specializing in healthcare, crafts and communications technology. There has also been a movement to invest in “green” businesses, like renewable energy and sustainable technologies.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup has provided even more business opportunities. The Tourism Enterprise Partnership was established in 2008 to facilitate the World Cup and the growth and development of the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism sector, such as boutique hotels, restaurants, crafters, entertainment facilities and the broader hospitality industry.
South Africa also has a growing film industry. With its beautiful landscapes and low production costs – forty percent less than in Europe and the US, twenty percent less than in Australia – South Africa has been the location of such recent movies as Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio, Lord of War with Nicholas Cage, and Tsotsi, which won an Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2006.
All this makes South Africa a market that many angel investors from all around the world have started to keep a close eye on.
Financing and Business Opportunities
The Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are international financial institutions that promote economic and social progress in their developing member countries. Each year, the MDBs (the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) extend a combined total of almost $50 billion in loans, grants, and investments to the public and private sectors for economic and social development in developing markets.
However, many U.S. exporters are missing out on these extremely lucrative opportunities because they lack the necessary information about the projects and are unfamiliar with the MDBs and foreign government tendering procedures.
The United States plays an important role in the activities of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and is typically the largest single shareholder, contributing generously to the development projects in the countries where the banks operate. As a result, Congress has mandated that the U.S. Department of Commerce have a Commercial Liaison Office at each of the MDBs in order to protect American commercial interests and advise U.S. firms on how to work with the MDBs, promote risk mitigation strategies for emerging market activities, and advocate on procurement and contracting issues.
In cooperation with various U.S. Government and non government organizations in the USA and SA and U.S. Government Development Finance Institutions, programs and services are available to businesses including grants, loans, loan guarantees, and tax incentives, we can assist you in finding the best opportunities for your business in South Africa / Africa and the USA. Whether you’re looking to make your first export sale or expand your business internationally, we offer trade counselling, market intelligence, business matchmaking, and commercial diplomacy you need to connect with lucrative business opportunities. In addition, we will help you to develop trade finance and insurance strategies that align with your particular business objectives and help you complete your export transaction.