South Africa Faces Investor Exodus, Big Companies Leave Amid Government Concerns

By John Lopez

May 13, 2024 04:16 PM EDT

South Africa has recently been grappling with a concerning trend: a major exodus of international businesses, raising questions about the country's economic environment and regulatory stability (via Business Tech). 

South Africa's Economic Landscape Shaken as Big Companies Exit Amid Government Concerns

The exodus began gaining momentum in 2017, with General Motors announcing its departure due to global restructuring efforts. Since then, several other prominent players have followed suit, citing reasons ranging from internal restructuring to increased operational costs rather than direct government conflicts.

One such departure in 2024 is that of BNP Paribas, the world's sixth-largest bank, which saw its banking license revoked by the Prudential Authority. This move and Shell's decision to sell its shareholding in Shell Downstream South Africa stresses a broader trend of companies reassessing their operations in the region.

Additionally, in response to escalating mining costs, AngloGold Ashanti shifted its corporate offices to the UK and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Similarly, Fitbit ceased sales in South Africa following Google's product withdrawal, while Barclays completed its exit in 2021 after selling its remaining stake in Absa.

While these exits may appear driven by company-specific factors, concerns about South Africa's regulatory environment and economic growth trajectory loom large. Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busisiwe Mavuso, as Business Tech reports, highlighted the need for a more predictable regulatory landscape and stronger economic growth to retain investors.

Mavuso emphasized that despite President Cyril Ramaphosa's eagerness to attract investors, sentiment must be met with tangible action through structural reforms. She warned against downplaying the significance of these exits, noting their potential to deter other investors and exacerbate economic challenges.

READ MORE: Chinese Companies Dominate Licensing Bids to Explore Iraq Oil and Gas Fields as US Snubs Energy Bidding Round

A bird flies among building at a construction site in the Central Business District of Johannesburg during the unveiling of the first election posters of the South African opposition party Democratic Alliance ahead of South Africa presidential vote in 2024, on October 02, 2023.
(Photo : Photo by ROBERTA CIUCCIO/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite Challenges, South Africa Remains a Target for Foreign Investment With Positive Growth Prospects

Despite these concerns, South Africa continues attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), as noted by PwC's findings of net FDI inflows since the global financial crisis in 2008. 

Amazon's recent entry into the South African market further emphasizes the country's potential as a destination for international companies.

However, challenges persist, particularly in the manufacturing and mining sectors, where policy uncertainty and infrastructure deficiencies hinder growth. Mavuso stressed the importance of creating an investor-friendly environment to stimulate long-term investments in fixed infrastructure.

READ NEXT: Former CEO Shoots Himself to Commit Suicide After Receiving $25 Million Record-Breaking Fine for Fraud at Steinhoff

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics