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Johannesburg - South Africa prides itself as a first world country in a third world continent, trading mostly overseas, but is starting to train its sights on its poor but fast-growing African cousins as turmoil in Europe slashes exports to its traditional markets. :nuts:

President Jacob Zuma's government said this month it was looking to African oil producers such as Nigeria after bowing to Western pressure to cut imports from Iran - historically its biggest supplier - in compliance with sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme.

South Africa's crude imports from Iran fell 43% to 286 072 tonnes in April from the previous month, while imports from Nigeria rose nearly fivefold to 615 834 tonnes in March against 127 376 tonnes in the same month last year.


While trade with the rest of the continent has increased gradually in the past decade, Africa's economic powerhouse still lags Asian giants China and India which have established firm footings in mining, construction and clothing.


One reason is the legacy of apartheid, an era when when South Africa's white-minority government eschewed trade ties with Africa in favour of Europe.

"We missed an opportunity to our own detriment," said Dawie Roodt, chief economist at research house Efficient Group.

"Only recently has business in South Africa become part of Africa."
European alternative

Besides Iran, the turmoil in Europe, South Africa's biggest trading partner, is providing another lesson on the need to shift focus to more dynamic growth spots from the debt-ridden region where a 2008/09 slowdown triggered the first recession in South Africa in 18 years.


This year, the impact of the euro crisis has manifested itself mostly in local financial markets, where the rand has been among the most volatile of emerging market currencies, hitting a three-year low of R8.71/dollar earlier this month.

But the damage is also filtering into the real economy.

Sales to Europe - while still accounting for the bulk of exports - fell to 23% of total exports in April from nearly 28% a year ago, according to customs data.

"We need to be prepared if there is either a serious downturn or stagnation," trade and industry director general Lionel October told a business forum this month.


"We must have a coherent response this time so we don't suffer a knock as we did in the last round."


With its economies growing at 5% or more, Africa is the obvious candidate to plug the gap - and regional exports are showing gradual signs of growth, from just 15% of total sales in April last year to 17% in April 2012.

However, South Africa's trade with the continent - a threefold increase since 2001 - has severely lagged that of China whose trade with Africa grew sixreenfold over the same period. Exports to key economies such as Nigeria and Egypt are well below potential, said Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle.


In 2011, just 0.5% of South Africa's total exports to Africa were to Egypt, and 4% to Nigeria. By contrast, 16% of China's African exports were to Nigeria and 13% to Egypt.

"We are very competitive within our southern Africa neighbourhood but to an extent we are missing out on the large and fast-growing economies elsewhere," Freemantle said.

"These are economies that we really could and should be doing more trade with and we haven't prioritised them."


Diplomacy follows, slowly
While some local firms have beaten a path into frontier Africa, including retailer Shoprite Holdings [JSE:SHP], Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] and mobile phone operators MTN Group [JSE:MTN] and Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD], politicians have been slow to follow.

For example, since his election in 2009, Zuma has yet to make an official visit to Nigeria and Ethiopia - Africa's two most populous nations - but has been to Britain and other Western countries as well as south and central America.

Nigeria, Africa's second-largest economy, is an important potential market with a population of 150 million people. With official gross domestic product due to jump 40% under an imminent rebasing, it will also come close to South Africa in size.

Relations between the two countries remain prickly, often over matters as trivial as District 9, a 2009 science fiction movie that portrayed Nigerians as cannibals, or South African immigration officials deporting 125 Nigerians accused of carrying fake vaccination papers.

"There is a perception that South Africa tilts her nose up at its neighbours and that could be costing it dearly against countries like China in terms of trade and investment," said one southern African diplomat who declined to be named.

However, there are signs of relations being put on a more serious footing.

This year, South Africa publicly backed Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for World Bank president - a diplomatic olive branch that was not diminished by her ultimately missing out on the position.

South Africa's geographical proxmity and advanced banking system also mean it is still well-positioned to catch up with Asian rivals in the 21st century "Scramble for Africa".

"We have the advantage above India and China in that our financial systems are so sophisticated that nobody can really compete with us," Efficient Group's Roodt said.

"The guys that can compete with us are the Europeans or the Americans and they are far away and don't really understand Africa as we do
http://www.fin24.com/Economy/SA-wakes-up-to-Africas-potential-20120626
Interesting article.
What do our resident pundits think?
 

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I think that our position in Africa does not guarantee that trade with Africa will be any easier than for the rest of the world. Our proximity at the southern tip of Africa away from major population centres such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt means that we will in any case have to do trade by sea or plane that puts us in the same playing field as China, America etc.

I also doubt that we are the gateway into Africa. South Africa's financial and legal spheres are in another league than most of Africa's (more in line with the Western world), and therefore I am not sure how we are supposedly going to give an insight into doing business on the continent? That is more a designation that perhaps Nigeria or some other country way up there can attest to.
 

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I think that our position in Africa does not guarantee that trade with Africa will be any easier than for the rest of the world. Our proximity at the southern tip of Africa away from major population centres such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt means that we will in any case have to do trade by sea or plane that puts us in the same playing field as China, America etc.

I also doubt that we are the gateway into Africa. South Africa's financial and legal spheres are in another league than most of Africa's (more in line with the Western world), and therefore I am not sure how we are supposedly going to give an insight into doing business on the continent? That is more a designation that perhaps Nigeria or some other country way up there can attest to.
I don't like this negatif thinking mind, do u want to tell me that china is closer to egypt and Nigeria than South africa ??? .

Today competitiveness is not by how far you are from a market, but how much it will cost you and then how fast and both cases South africa can be verry competitive if they can have more links with south africa. How do u want to be competitive if You want to send a contenair from durban to algeria it have to go throw marseil in france or dubai and it's the same with other countries.
 

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I don't like this negatif thinking mind, do u want to tell me that china is closer to egypt and Nigeria than South africa ??? .

Today competitiveness is not by how far you are from a market, but how much it will cost you and then how fast and both cases South africa can be verry competitive if they can have more links with south africa. How do u want to be competitive if You want to send a contenair from durban to algeria it have to go throw marseil in france or dubai and it's the same with other countries.
This is exactly my point. South Africa cannot compete with China. There is no lower transport cost acting in RSA's favour as there is in Southern Africa (which is flooded with RSA's goods, but has a very low population).
 

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This is exactly my point. South Africa cannot compete with China. There is no lower transport cost acting in RSA's favour as there is in Southern Africa (which is flooded with RSA's goods, but has a very low population).
so you don't have to solve the problem by investing in deep sea ports and free duty industruel zones and competitive logistic.....? we have just accept the reality of today and fall behind ?.
 

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Well unfortunately all that export driven infrastructure does not mean much in a country where labour costs are rising above inflation because of unreasonable demands by trade unions, therefore eroding our competitiveness.

Those economic zones are mostly empty and underutilised.

And yes we are falling behind. The ANC and its affiliates are aggressive towards manufacturing industries with their militant labour policies. And unortunately its the manufacturing industries that supply the most jobs. How can an industry compete with International markets if its workers go on strike for 3 weeks at a time?????

You should see the large losses metal making industries made in 2011 because of the month long strike by NUMSA members. Who will invest in such volatile conditions so that we can export goods instead of just minerals???
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
^^Lol, Frantic, when did you become a sour-poes?
 

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^^The prophet of doom strikes again
I would rather have that Africans think for a change as your quote suggests and not sit up with corrupt and useless governments (thinking of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC).

I love this country and all its people. But its governance is going down hill fast and is unfortunately moving in the direction of African states (go read up a bit what happened to Zambia's economy after they nationalised their copper mines).

Do you live in London? As so many of the African diaspora do?
 

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I would rather have that Africans think for a change as your quote suggests and not sit up with corrupt and useless governments (thinking of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC).

I love this country and all its people. But its governance is going down hill fast and is unfortunately moving in the direction of African states (go read up a bit what happened to Zambia's economy after they nationalised their copper mines).

Do you live in London? As so many of the African diaspora do?
woe is you :eek:hno: Your arrogance is titillating/ your anguish is that they don't think the way you do, is that it?/ going down fast is a bit melodramatic, no? /and yes i live in london with a lot of expat south africans as neighbours, :lol: BTW i thought the ANC official position is not to nationalize the mines? your suffering from malemaitis :lol:
 

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As you live in London it is maybe obvious that you do not know the predicament we face here in SA. Oh maybe its because you do not read the Sunday Times (black owned newspaper) where every Sunday I have to read on the front paper about some new governance failure on the part of the ANC.

A country which goes through police commissioners like candy cannot be all that good? The one was fired for being in bed with the largest mafia (Angliotti) figure in country. The second one was fired because he cant understand that hiring a building that will cost R500m in ten years is a bit excessive. Oh and the head of intelligence was fired because he had his girlfriend's ex murdered. And then also a minister who went and visited his girlfriend which was in prison for carrying drugs in Switzerland. And then what about the Aurora scandal?? Ah it is really becoming a free for all here.

Did I forget to mention the Province (Limpopo) which did not get textbooks for 6months to their schools? And what about our current president who has been investigated for rape and who only has grade 2 (He is the hero of the nation). And then there was that unfortunate accident involving Limpopo being put under administration (the whole province).

A comical scene also went on down here when the ANC bashed the DA about toiletgate only for it to subsequently come out that they did the same n the Freestate (hehe the ANC really cant do anything right):nuts:

Ive also had a few good laughs over the years mostly enjoyed at Minister Zuma with her utternces on AIDS and that eating vegetables will cure you thereof. Also had a few laughs at one of the biggest heroes of the nation, Malema, with his very good education on matter such as economical prosperity.

And then theres also the nasty details of people being not only killed on their farms but also how the wifes and daughters get raped and subsequently tortured (in novel ways) to death. And yet the ANCYL still call for more violence.

Oh yes another one: Young babies as old as 2 months getting raped because in many a South African man's head there is an idea that this will cure him of AIDS. Has the government ever tried to raise awareness about this? No it is has not.

Lol a more funny one even: department of health officials hovering in helicopters over townships and throwing thousands of condoms out the windows onto the cheering crowds below with the instructions on how to use stapled onto the condoms. If you believe that this is a lie about the condoms then please read:
http://mg.co.za/article/2007-11-05-what-state-did-is-disgusting

Being a London man I'm sure you know about all this because thats how we roll down here in Africa my man.
 

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As you live in London it is maybe obvious that you do not know the predicament we face here in SA. Oh maybe its because you do not read the Sunday Times (black owned newspaper) where every Sunday I have to read on the front paper about some new governance failure on the part of the ANC.

A country which goes through police commissioners like candy cannot be all that good? The one was fired for being in bed with the largest mafia (Angliotti) figure in country. The second one was fired because he cant understand that hiring a building that will cost R500m in ten years is a bit excessive. Oh and the head of intelligence was fired because he had his girlfriend's ex murdered. And then also a minister who went and visited his girlfriend which was in prison for carrying drugs in Switzerland. And then what about the Aurora scandal?? Ah it is really becoming a free for all here.

Did I forget to mention the Province (Limpopo) which did not get textbooks for 6months to their schools? And what about our current president who has been investigated for rape and who only has grade 2 (He is the hero of the nation). And then there was that unfortunate accident involving Limpopo being put under administration (the whole province).

A comical scene also went on down here when the ANC bashed the DA about toiletgate only for it to subsequently come out that they did the same n the Freestate (hehe the ANC really cant do anything right):nuts:

Ive also had a few good laughs over the years mostly enjoyed at Minister Zuma with her utternces on AIDS and that eating vegetables will cure you thereof. Also had a few laughs at one of the biggest heroes of the nation, Malema, with his very good education on matter such as economical prosperity.

And then theres also the nasty details of people being not only killed on their farms but also how the wifes and daughters get raped and subsequently tortured (in novel ways) to death. And yet the ANCYL still call for more violence.

Oh yes another one: Young babies as old as 2 months getting raped because in many an African man's head there is an idea that this will cure him of AIDS. Has the government ever tried to raise awareness about this? No it is has not.

Lol a more funny one even: department of health officials hovering in helicopters over townships and throwing thousands of condoms out the windows onto the cheering crowds below with the instructions on how to use stapled onto the condoms. If you believe that this is a lie about the condoms then please read:
http://mg.co.za/article/2007-11-05-what-state-did-is-disgusting

Being a London man I'm sure you know about all this because thats how we roll down here in Africa my man.



Now a perspective from a non-diasporan. Every country has it's faire share of problems and shame brought about by politicians, if we were to emphasize on that we would be writting encycopedias. Even developped nations have their problems, I am often in France for business and I cannot tell you how many times I have heard in the news of something embarassing a politician did (nepotism, a top policeman going to bed with drug dealers etc etc), even the US is not spared. What I am saying is, it is not all doom and gloom as you make it sound, at least for my country (and a few others I know). Despite our problems, I do believe it is the resilience and the hardwork of the citizenry that moves the country forward. Politicians worldwide share similar traits.
 

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Yes but the difference is that in the Western World politicians are held accountable for their actions. Here in Africa they get away with murder. (thinking of the leader of Equatorial Guinea, Robert Mugabe, Jacob Zuma, the previous Malawian president)
 

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Yes but the difference is that in the Western World politicians are held accountable for their actions. Here in Africa they get away with murder. (thinking of the leader of Equatorial Guinea, Robert Mugabe, Jacob Zuma, the previous Malawian president)
Because of lack of strong instutions. BTW, there are so many dity dealings by some western politicians, and they still get away with it (eg read affaire Karachi and Sarkozy, that being just a random example, Bush's many blunders etc etc) . I am not saying they are comparable, but you also can't compare the West and Africa as far as judicial instutions go. Does this mean African presients are blameless? Not at all. But the West had years to perfect their systems, we are getting there, albeit slowly (and it is frustrating I know), but we are sure getting there. And having functioning systems attimes involves alot of sacrifice, in Kenya it took us the PEV for the country to change, for us to have a strong and "independent" judiciary. It is not perfect, but we are heading in the right direction, and a can site countless other countries that in my opinion are doing "ok": Ghana, Cape Verde, Tanzania , Rwanda (just out of my head). Of course there are still alot of problems with alot of our countries, but days when coup d'états were the order of the day, when every month some conflict or coup d'état was going on, are long gone. That does not mean that we are free from problems, far from it. For one visionary Kagame, for one peaceful Tanzania, you have a ruthless Mugabe or a war filled Northen mali. But the conflicts have reduced, more and more people are asking for accountability. Add that to the increased competition for FDI, forcing countries that were reckless (Camroon's Biya for example, or Denis Sassou Nguesso), then you will realize that these are different times. I know there are still many hurdles, many obstacles to overcome, but we will get there.
 

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Oh yes another one: Young babies as old as 2 months getting raped because in many an African man's head there is an idea that this will cure him of AIDS. Has the government ever tried to raise awareness about this? No it is has not.
What do you mean by African man's head? This only happened in South Africa, why say all of african men?
 

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Because of lack of strong instutions. BTW, there are so many dity dealings by some western politicians, and they still get away with it (eg read affaire Karachi and Sarkozy, that being just a random example, Bush's many blunders etc etc) . I am not saying they are comparable, but you also can't compare the West and Africa as far as judicial instutions go. Does this mean African presients are blameless? Not at all. But the West had years to perfect their systems, we are getting there, albeit slowly (and it is frustrating I know), but we are sure getting there. And having functioning systems attimes involves alot of sacrifice, in Kenya it took us the PEV for the country to change, for us to have a strong and "independent" judiciary. It is not perfect, but we are heading in the right direction, and a can site countless other countries that in my opinion are doing "ok": Ghana, Cape Verde, Tanzania , Rwanda (just out of my head). Of course there are still alot of problems with alot of our countries, but days when coup d'états were the order of the day, when every month some conflict or coup d'état was going on, are long gone. That does not mean that we are free from problems, far from it. For one visionary Kagame, for one peaceful Tanzania, you have a ruthless Mugabe or a war filled Northen mali. But the conflicts have reduced, more and more people are asking for accountability. Add that to the increased competition for FDI, forcing countries that were reckless (Camroon's Biya for example, or Denis Sassou Nguesso), then you will realize that these are different times. I know there are still many hurdles, many obstacles to overcome, but we will get there.
You cant compare the rest of Africa's judicial system to that of South Africa's judicial system. Ours is (or was) world class. But the politicians are still not held accountable.

As for the rest of Africa: The ICC was precisely set up for the reason that most African states do not have world class judicial systems. The ICC was intended to allow African states to hand over suspected war criminals (politicians mostly) and be judged by world class judges. The Africans states have mostly rejected the ICC though.
 

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Plus not all south African men are like that. I find his stament to be full of overgeneralizations.
Thats why I say "in many". If there were few cases of baby rapes then i would have said a few. Unfortunately there are many such cases.

Sorry for my previous remark about African. Will edit it to South African
 

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Thats why I say "in many". If there were few cases of baby rapes then i would have said a few. Unfortunately there are many such cases.

Sorry for my previous remark about African. Will edit it to South African
If you take a newspaper from any country, you are going to find similar cases of child abuse, kids getting raped etc etc. It is not unique to Africa/ South Africa, unless you are telling me that the problem is so bad that kids can't even play on the streets.
 
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