South Africa is an attractive investment destination and government is committed to improve the investment climate and the ease of doing business. One of the main reasons for South Africa becoming one of the most popular trade and investment destinations in the world is due to the country ensuring that it can meet specific trade and investment requirements of prospective investors.
From an investment perspective, South Africa is a major access point for Canada to access the African market. Canada is an important investor in the South African economy with Canadian companies having investments in a range of South African industries including transportation, food processing, hospitality, information and communication technologies, and instrumentation sectors with the largest focus of Canadian investment being in the mineral and mining sector.
In December 2015, President Zuma signed into law the Protection of Investment Act. The Act aims to provide universal protection to all foreign investors in South Africa. The Act ensures alignment with the Constitution, and guarantees the principle of non-discrimination, and equal treatment of national and foreign investors.
In addition, a Government initiative called Invest South Africa One Stop Shop for investors was launched in February 2017. The Invest SA One-stop Shop (OSS) aims to increase foreign and domestic investment in South Africa and the rest of Africa. The OSS will provide a more co-ordinated, streamlined and professional service to those who wish to set up a business in South Africa.
The inter-governmental driven initiative will be launched in the provinces of Kwazulu Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape late in 2017.The services that are provided at the One Stop Shop are as follows:
- Serve as an accessible entry point for investors in need of regulatory compliance with laws and / or regulations at a national level;
- Inform regulator decision process (registration, lisencing, permitting, land allocation or property registration) by increasing transparency, clarify regulations and improve the quality and timeframe of service;
- Perform pre-and post-investment screening for appropriate investors and investments into South Africa on a project by project basis;
- Advise on various incentives (tax, land, training, free zones, etc.);
- Participate in the regulatory reform / roadmap process of South Africa;
- Provide pre-approval services (market data, costs, project approval, visits, local partners, etc.) to investors; and
- Provide post approval services (permits, approvals, import equipment & raw materials, central bank profit repatriation, work permits, etc.) to the investor.
South Africa has also geographically designated areas of the country set aside for specifically targeted economic activities to promote rapid industrial development know as Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Zones are supported through special arrangements and support systems to attract and retain targeted industrial investors. This will be achieved primarily through the giving of incentives to attract foreign and local investment within these zones in order to boost the country’s economic attractiveness.