The fourth South Africa Investment Conference 2022 on the 24th of March, allowed South Africa (SA) to showcase itself as an attractive investment destination. Pledges were secured from international trading partners from within the EU, the United States, China and the United Kingdom.   

While the challenges of electricity supply, unemployment and corruption cannot be ignored, SA President, Cyril Ramaphosa, spoke unequivocally of the “ambition to be an economy and a society that is open to global skills, attracts talent, expertise and innovation.”  

Let’s explore a few considerations relevant to your decision to invest in Southern Africa and be part of this ambition, whether large or small. 

Investing or Doing Business in Southern Africa  

SA scores with a strong manufacturing and retail base and a large and diversified economy that operates as a base for business companies to spread their business into other African markets. Mauritius’ favourable tax regime boosts the financial sector, not to mention the responsiveness the country has shown during the Covid-19 pandemic within their immigration system, by introducing the Premium Visa for remote working and digital nomads.   

Several Southern African countries have ranked within the top 10 of the Where to Invest in Africa 2021 report from RMB (download the report here), with SA ranking third, Botswana fifth, Mauritius seventh and Kenya ninth, each offering their own attractive economic aspects.  

Namibia ranks within the top 20 on the report from RMB but is earmarked as one of the economies to watch with regards to the renewable energy sector and opportunities in the logistical services sector.  

National Investment Agencies, including InvestSA, the Namibian Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) and the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) have been established and strengthened with the mandate to ease investment into the respective destinations and assist in making investment endeavours a success.  

Through SADC and relevant free trade agreements, investing in Southern Africa can have the benefit of access to further markets within the region and globally.  

On a personal level, investors entering countries such as SA or Namibia will find thriving and diverse communities, stepping into a (business) world with fellow Germans, French nationals, UK and US citizens and many more.  

Investment and Immigration  

A key element of being an attractive investment destination lies for many, especially smaller and private investors, in the immigration benefits and advantages the investment will bring.

Whether the aim is a permanent relocation, access to a potential retirement destination or the opportunity to experience a change in scenery and culture, there are many benefits to be had on a personal level, in addition to the business and financial opportunities of the investment itself. Nearly all countries with an investor immigration route provide the ultimate opportunity of becoming a permanent resident in that country, including SA, Namibia, Botswana and Kenya. 

From investments starting at 50 000 USD/R750 000 (Mauritius), through to R2 million (Namibia) and R5 million or R6.3 million (SA and Botswana respectively), the investment amounts linked to obtaining the relevant immigration statuses compare favourably to the amounts tied to investor permits for most European countries and the United States.   

Family members can be included in the immigration applications, enabling the whole family to reside together in the beauty of the Southern African countries.  

Conclusion  

While the results of a recent survey of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the experiences and prospects of German business (surveying around 2 700 German companies with cross-border operations) still noted a marked impact caused by the negative outlook of the pandemic, the balance of positive and negative assessments has improved over the past two years.  

Investing and immigration in the Southern African region are rarely swift processes and therefore the increasingly positive outlook, together with concerted commitments and efforts to attract investment by Southern African governments, such as the South African Investment conference or specific investment development and immigration cooperation in Namibia, means this the perfect time to consider Southern Africa as an investment destination.  

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Written by: Hannah Mminele

Edited by: Lauren Daniels