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Country Forecast South Africa December 2017 Updater

Country Forecast South Africa December 2017 Updater

  • December 2017
  • ID: 359068
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Policy towards private enterprise and competition

2018-19: Policy is broadly pro-business, but favourable moves, such as new special economic zones offering tax incentives, are accompanied by tighter competition laws and stricter black economic empowerment (BEE) rules.

2020-22: Efforts to speed up land reform intensify, although the government rejects expropriation without compensation. Investment incentives in selected industries (such as automotive manufacturing) remain in place.

Policy towards foreign investment

2018-19: A new foreign investment law risks limiting access to international arbitration and a revised mining charter threatens to impose new regulations. A draft expropriation law, which could affect levels of compensation, re-emerges from parliament.

2020-22: The government continues to encourage foreign investment and public-private partnerships but remains opposed to the privatisation of state assets in most cases.

Foreign trade and exchange controls

2018-19: Relaxation of exchange controls on capital flows paused in response to rating downgrades. Selected trade tariffs are raised to protect vulnerable industries (such as steel). Efforts to build closer trade ties with key emerging markets continue.

2020-22: Progress towards regional economic integration in Southern Africa makes some advances, but barriers persist.


2018-19: Tough fiscal conditions lead to higher direct and indirect taxes, although corporation tax rates remain unchanged. A carbon tax is introduced, but many details are still pending.

2020-22: Efforts continue to streamline and modernise the tax system, and expand the tax base.


2018-19: Additional downgrades to South Africa's credit rating pose the risk of higher borrowing costs across the economy and capital flight. Local banks remain sound and profitable on aggregate, and continue to be a source of corporate financing.

2020-22: The central bank's continued independence helps to preserve financial system stability. Monetary policy remains prudent and interest rates are broadly stable.

The labour market

2018-19: Labour laws stay inflexible, despite the negative impact on employment, because of trade unions' political power. Rising wages (including a proposed national minimum wage) and the risk of strikes deter business from creating jobs.

2020-22: The labour market remains tough, owing to skills shortages and BEE targets.


2018-19: Investment in transport and electricity boosts capacity, although bottlenecks persist. The rollout of domestic fibre-optic cables boosts telecommunications provision and cuts costs.

2020-22: The phased start-up of new base-load electricity-generating plants facilitates fresh investment in energy-intensive sectors, but rising power tariffs remain a deterrent.

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