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Why South Africa is not the world’s gateway to Africa

By Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa and Charles Wachira

South Africa’s election into the Brics bloc of big emerging economies (along with Brazil, Russia, India and China) comes with many expectations and obligations. As Africa’s only Brics member, we need to ask whether SA’s inclusion is solely for its own benefit or as the gateway to the rest of Africa, as SA would have us believe. There are many reasons, however, why SA should not be considered the world’s gateway to Africa.

As different countries and regions in Africa continue to improve their individual competitiveness, the need for a gateway is being diminished. Proposing SA as a gateway implies that African countries are not capable of accessing the world, which is not the case. African countries are making great strides to integrate into the global economy. Further, SA does not have sufficient soft power to act as a gateway between Africa and the world. And finally, SA has myriad domestic issues that hinder it from being a continental gateway. SA has the highest GDP in Africa, but it must be asked how long it can maintain its lead. Other parts of the continent are continuing to integrate, increasingly operating as unified trading blocs linked by efficient transport systems, an uninterrupted and affordable supply of electricity, and telecommunications.

Other countries are also eliminating barriers to trade. If SA does not improve its competitiveness, it might flounder. Furthermore, many African countries are taking advantage of their links to China and India. Ethiopia, for example, is increasingly diversifying its economy and expanding growth after the global recession, which continues to diminish SA’s economic power. The Economist recently ranked the world’s fastest-growing GDPs from 2001 to 2015, and SA was not on its list. So why would the rest of Africa need SA as its gateway? Other African countries need to focus on increasing their own competitiveness in order to attract more investment for their development directly. Nigeria, an African country that did make it onto The Economist’s list of fastest-growing economies, is continuously ranked as the second largest African economy behind SA.

Considering its large population, a rapidly growing middle class, an increase in domestic industries and the expansion of Nigerian companies across the continent, Nigeria is a force to be reckoned with, especially as it is expected to restructure the basis of its GDP calculation, enabling it to pass SA in 2014 – a major psychological barrier. However, like SA, Nigeria is plagued by corruption and crime. Nevertheless, as evident on the streets of Lagos, which are overflowing with businesses of all sizes, Nigerians are an entrepreneurial people, very focused on making money by whatever means necessary. This contrasts sharply with SA, which is likely to be distracted for some time by major disputes over issues such as nationalisation, the legacy of apartheid and distributing wealth to the marginalised. For SA to be a successful gateway to Africa, the Africans on the other side of the fence, so to speak, must agree to confer on it that status. While it is true that SA has been the default “Africa brand” on such matters as hosting international sporting events, Africa has never chosen SA to be its stepping stone on other matters.

SA’s failure to win anything close to the support needed to get Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma elected as chairwoman of the African Union in January was a glaring demonstration of the weakness of Pretoria’s soft power. SA’s “exceptionalism”, which often causes South Africans to talk about Africa as though it was another continent, also counts against this country being accepted by other Africans as their gateway. At its extreme, of course, this sense of otherness manifests itself as xenophobia, a disease which doesn’t seem to want to go away. SA also has to solve its many domestic issues before taking on Africa’s problems. Since the ANC took power in 1994, unemployment has increased substantially, while the few who have the right political connections have grown immensely wealthy.

With about 20 percent of the population owning 80 percent of the country’s wealth, future political stability is becoming a growing issue for investors – as is crime, especially violent crime. Though official figures claim a small decline of just over 6 percent in murders in the year to March 2011 compared to the previous year, even the government acknowledges that rape is increasing. A survey of 4000 women by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency in SA indicated that one in three had been raped. Coupled with SA’s status of having the highest number of HIV infections in the world, this is not attractive to foreign business people.

SA needs to shake off its complacency. Other countries on the continent are finding solutions to their own problems and are prospering. This is reflected by progress in Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia and elsewhere. Due to globalisation and technological advances, African countries do not need a go-between. African countries are ready to face the world, on their own, regionally and continentally.

Hubs can exist only in regions that are generally fragmented and disorderly. In developed regions, the market for hubs is closed – London, Frankfurt, Zurich, New York and Los Angeles are fully established. It is important to state upfront that countries are not hubs or gateways, but rather cities are. A key trend in high growth emerging regions in recent times has been the creation of new hub cities – Dubai servicing the Middle East, Singapore in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong for Greater China, and Shanghai as a new emerging hub for central and northern China.

Africa does not have a hub. African countries are only beginning to compete with each other for capital and investment. African cities have yet to start competing – this will be a driver of competitiveness and growth for the continent in future. No African city has seized the “first mover advantage” and staked its claim to be a gateway to the region: it should be us. The opportunity cost loss of the government (with support from business) not pursuing this truly strategic prospect will be high and long term.

Africa is at the beginning of a long-term growth trend that might naturally result in the deepening integration of Africa into the global economy. While SA’s geography is not in our favour – located at the southern tip of the continent – our cities should be leveraging their comparative advantages to create clusters of service excellence. Johannesburg should be the corporate HQ for multinational business expanding into Africa. The financial services, capital market and professional services clusters that exist in Sandton could be bolstered through creative tax incentives to attract multinationals to establish their regional headquarters. Singapore’s Economic Development Board has attracted over a third of Fortune 500 firms to the city state – attracting companies, capital and, most importantly, talent.

The World Economic Forum has stated: “Hubs and clusters are about people .. they should be places where good people want to go.” Policies help, but success will always be determined by talent. We seem to be unwilling to attract global talent into our economy, rather adopting a narrow zero-sum perspective, believing that a “foreigner” will take a local job. Mauritius is increasingly offering an alternative financial services hub for Africa. Joburg’s “hardware” is excellent. The world-class OR Tambo International Airport and connectivity through the Gautrain reinforces Joburg’s claim to gateway status – but far more work is needed on the policy “software”. Durban is a logistics hub for the region, but only by default. Its port was the 46th busiest port in the world in 2010. But it enjoys this position only because other potential competitors in the region have yet to grasp the importance of competitiveness. Maputo, Beira, Dar es Salaam and Mombasa are all underperformers.

As a result, Durban is not truly competitive in global terms. Bloomberg reported in August last year that state-owned Transnet charged an average container vessel $182 151 (R1.372-million) to dock at Durban port. This is more than double the global average of $86 251 and the highest of any of the top 100 harbours. This is the price of nationalisation – higher costs and lower efficiency due to the stifling of competition. With the drive to regionally integrate the economies of southern and East Africa, Durban must improve its competitiveness to continue to be the logistics services hub for the region. With greater focus and effort, Maputo may usurp that position. With booming oil- and gas-driven economies along the west coast of Africa, Cape Town should be competing to be the corporate and oil and gas services hub for the region. Infrastructure, services and living environment are all comparative advantages. But increased port efficiencies and policy incentives to attract companies are required to bolster Cape Town’s claim.

The competition will come from Walvis Bay and perhaps Luanda, again because West African countries have been unable to create a regional hub – Singapore-style – in the region. Accra, Libreville and Port Harcourt have all failed to seize the firstmover advantage. Cultural and linguistic differences are the most difficult challenge for South Africans to overcome in Francophone and Lusophone countries. There are 404-million English-speaking Africans. This in itself is a sizeable market. The trend towards consolidation of businesses in the tax, audit and legal sectors across Africa will over the medium term reinforce SA’s claim. Every region needs hubs of service, and to be driven by talent. SA cannot claim to be the gateway to the continent unless we begin to understand this imperative and also realise that the region will increasingly compete with us.

Our competitors have traditionally been a minimum of nine hours’ flying time away – now, for the first time, they are emerging in our own region. Africa is changing rapidly, and competition is no longer just between companies. The SA government must be more agile to create the enabling environment for clustered business to build recognised hubs. Through the creation of efficient, competitive and attractive hubs, SA should be the gateway to the region, which remains very much a frontier market.

Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa is founder of Hoja Law Group and a Mo Ibrahim Leadership fellow at the World Trade Organisation. She co-wrote this article with Charles Wachira who is a journalist in Kenya. This article was first published in The Star.

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    • Rod of Sydney

      good article

      “talk once, listen twice”

    • Khalsa Singh

      An absolutely ridiculous article.
      This complex problem of SAs underperformance in BRIC or world stage has been dumbed down to ‘soft skills’ and xenophobia. In spite of this, why is every reprobate fool and parasite on the continent making a beeline for our porous borders?
      If I were to simplify the problem, I would place the fault squarely on ANC foreign and domestic policy.
      The ANC and their voters are lazy parasites, content with dividing up the pie rather than pursuing expansionist policies in Africa.
      China is now a global superpower…..is this because of their ‘soft skills’ or their human rights record that makes everyone invest in their economy and also open their doors to Chinese expansion?

      For SA to be a gateway to Africa, we need to take ownership and leadership in this continent. If u look at Gimp Zuma’s limp wristed handling of the Arab spring, AU, Gafdaffi and Mugabe, u can see that nobody (not even Africans) take Zuma and hence South Africans seriously. They only take us seriously when they start getting klapped in our townships.

      The ANC needs to forget up street name changes, land grabbing, racism, inferiority complexes and start focusing on exploiting the vast natural resources and cheap labour that Africa offers. Instead of waiting like beggars for foreign investment, we should be investing (read exploiting) others.
      That is how SA can be leaders in Africa!

    • William Smith

      SA is unfortunately on the downward leg of the inexorable ‘Uhuru’ cycle, epitomised by distracting petty political infighting over resources which hobble good governance and consequently, growth. Some other African countries like Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and others, have however passed that and are on the upward leg towards pragmatic realism. By the time SA reaches that stage, everyone else will have moved on to another place. It is possible that they will never catch up.

    • Tofolux

      @Khalsa Sing, pray tell which points or practise of ANC “foreign and domestic policy” are you referring to ?
      @Jacqueline, one of the greatest failures of our continent,is a syndrome we seem to suffer from, its called “anti-african” or ”pull her down” syndromes. I say this because apart from listing all the failures of this continent there is very little you point out as successes. And yet if truth be told, our successes as a continent has been HUGE of late. But this sufferers of this condition of anti-africanism, will always, without fail bemoan how very bad we are. Also, I see that you have assimilated your stance according to the gospel of the WTO practitioners. Hopefully one day the cloud will lift and you will see the damage this organisation has visited upon our continent. But the other obvious thing is the danger that Brics bloc poses to your WTO. The fact that the emerging and strongest economies are not the usual suspects must be putting the country’s you truly represent ie Big 5, under tremendous pressure. Not only will this emergence cause challenges, the fact that scarce resources are now under siege and access to them becoming more and more dangerous proves the point that as WTO you have never assisted our continent. You have helped overthrow govts, you have helped to impose puppets and you have helped to rape this continent. I think that you should give SA more credit. It cannot be compared to Nigeria. Your assessment is totally skewed in favor of…

    • Rod of Sydney

      @Khalsa. you criticize the article and then substantially agree with its’ message?

    • Khalsa Singh

      @ Rod of Sydney.

      The writers are stating an obvious fact……but their analysis and case studies are both incorrect and in many cases also irrelevant. The examples they use have no bearing on continental domination. Making Durban’s harbour more efficient is not strategy but just an operational facet.
      As long as we remain a primary producer with no political and military links to weaker resource rich countries then there is no reason for us to be perceived as a strategic gateway. At the moment we are just a cheap source of manpower, electricity and water. No more.
      The authors could rather have shown how China has risen to dominate the Asian continent, Brazil in South America or how Germany dominates Europe.

    • T-Man

      Yes, there are a lot of problems and challenges we are facing in this country as the the two writers of this article has eloquently illustrated, what with moronic Malemas who are eyeing mines like vultures over the interest of the Country and our disappointing leaders like Mbalulas who are eyeing succession battle without thinking how much they are compromising themselves, etc. however, there are lot of successes that have made this Country a choice to economic forces like BRIC, I was reading this article with growing suprise at the underlying anger, bitterness and vernom of the writters. I will be surprised if some of their business are not in this Country despite that their respective countries viz. Kenya and Zambia are not exaclly the beacons of prosperity although I will credit those Countries for having helped our fathers in the time of need, and yes we have shamefully exhibited xenophobia. One omission the writers failed to understand is that the fact that we didnt make the list of fastest growing GDP’s may be because the Country is at a cetain level of development and the room for expansion is limited unlike other Countries that show e.g. 15% when they are starting from zero. I can assure you most of the western countries will be up to 6% because of little room of movement. We all know the reasons why RSA may not be successful in Africa be it politics or sports, etc, but to disply such scorn is ridiculous.

    • Mogotsi Mpshane

      RSA is not a gateway to africa. South Africa’s economy reached its pinnacle during the 60s and 70s where commodiies boom finaced our rapid infrastructure development. Currently, fellow african countries are experiencing their minning and energy boom. Petro dollars are flowing into countries like Nigeria, Angola etc. Kenya has also found crude oil so who needs South Africa?

    • RogerP

      Two points.

      Nigeria’s industry is far less diversified than SA’s, heavily dependent on oil. That country’s fortunes follow the oil price. It may be growing now, while the oil price is high, but a dip could bring growth to a grinding halt.

      I don’t agree that SA is distracted by issues such as nationalisation, legacy of apartheid etc. SA has an appallingly bad track record in entrepreneurship. In a survey on entrepreneurship not too long ago, SA ranked 157 out of 159, just above the West Bank and Gaza. Among the many reasons cited were a dysfunctional education system and a byzantine bureaucracy. Neither of those are distractions; they are willful actions.

    • RogerP

      Correction to the above. SA was ranked 57 out of 59, not 157 out of 159 on entrepreneurship

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      South Africa has good weather, is mostly maleria and yellow fever free, has good beaches and resturants etc,and the best infrastructure in Africa despite no maintenance for 20 years – obviously it is a good base for colonising Africa for the BRICS countries.

      But I don’t see it creating jobs for South Africans

    • isabella vd Westhuizen

      Why should we be upset if Africa improves. In Uganda and East Africa in particular you can feel the sense of forward movement. It is 40 years since Uhuru and those countries are obviously starting to claim their rightful place. That is good for us. I thank you for a wise and well written blog

    • Myth Os

      @Khalsa – It seems you don’t get it. Everything you mention is why Jacqueline and Charles are more right than wrong.

      The view into SA from outside SA is not pretty.

      I am a SAfrican,living in Kenya, I know…

    • Tofolux

      @Khalsa, it is quite obvious that you have absolutely no idea of SA position in the global village. The writer raises a very good point albeit that her positioning of the argument is skewed but it doesnt take away dat it is a good point. The only contribution you & et al makes is NOT to counter,strengthen or agree with the argument. It seems that in your opportunistic nature, you misuse this forum. Now re-read the subject matter and look at it objectively. South Africa has much the same influence as the Panama canal. Now if you understand economics, noting that you criticise ANC policies, the penny will drop in terms of strategic positioning. Also, if you are still in the dark as to how many countries around the Panama canal have had change in rulers and dictators or American puppets imposed on them then I suggest you read some really good material. The problem I have with so-called South Africans, is the fact that they damn their country into damnation on all fronts. They do absolutely NOTHING, nada to build this country, They sit and wait, sit and wait and I wonder for what? Khalsa, you should show some patriotism towards your country, You should embrace its diversity warts and all. This country is a beacon of hope to us as ordinary South Africans, It is us who have fought so that you can have that which you enjoy today. If you have no appreciation then so be it. But there is no excuse for ignorance or lies. So go back & stop obsessing abt ANC.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Tofolux, the Pannama canal was built and paid for by the US so, they should control it.

    • Tofolux

      @ the irrelevant Sterling, where is the Panama canal located? In which country? Do you believe in the sovereignity of a country?

    • George Nowak

      The authors should be congratulated on their article which alerts us to the medieval-style political leadership we have in South Africa, courtesy of the ANC. Viewed from afar the rise of idiocracy as a form of government seems so much clearer than viewed from within, with all its attendant failures to empower its people and to project itself into a its own continent. It seems as a country only concerned with consuming itself through failure to learn, failure to create new wealth and failure to lower the barriers to deploying its once-great economic engine into a continent now open to it.

      The inability of SA’s leadership since Mandela to make a mark on world politics, despite a platform created by and for him, shows that leadership knows only how to operate and to influence within its own village. Why would anyone in Africa want to depend on Johannesburg, or the country of South Africa, as a hub? So many aspects of it seem to be in decline, as if Africa’s giant is terminally afflicted with (political and moral) parasites that sap its energy and threaten its future existence. SA may be free of malaria in the main cities, but the diseases that threaten visitors are no less capable of making vistors and their businesses to stay away

    • MLH

      Are we all forgetting such minor details like clean water, sufficient crops, good infrastructure and electric power? All are essential, I believe, to giving SA the edge it seems presently to be losing.
      We also desperately need a different sort of statesman in government. Any country is only as good as its leaders.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Tofolux, without the US putting up the money there wouldn’t be no canal. Therefore, the US has a right to have a say in how this canal is run. The government in Panama wants the US to build another canal in that area. If you want to have control put your money where your mouth is.

    • http://makequickmoneysoon.com Gerard

      Incisive and thought-provoking article, despite the other views to the contrary. South Africa has an excellent and first world banking system which gives it a distinct advantage compared to the rest of the Continent. Beyond this, we have other substantial advantages like tertiary institutes with A-rated scientists and researchers but unfortunately we are bogged down by political misfits who are not qualified to rule.

    • http://blogroid.wordpress.com Blogroid

      I found this to be an informative and somewhat eye opening blog. Thank you.I have read in a few places that Nigeria is hell bent on pushing us off the “economic powerhouse of Afrika” pedestal. You neglected to mention that they have the world’s third largest movie industry [so-called Nollywood] while we are still generally in a parochial state of anti-competitive self-indulgence.

      You also neglected a huge strategic barrier to our physical penetration of Africa [gateway leading somewhere] in the form of the “now it’s failed/now it’s failing” State of Zimbabwe, in whose destruction we have collaborated to the puzzlement [and general anxiety i imagine] of our upwardly mobile competition.

      And then you neglected to acknowledge the strategic, competitive advantage granted us by Mr Mbeki, when he snagged the Pan Afrikan Parliament HQ for Midrand, thereby effectively creating the “Brussels or Washington in Afrika out of Gauteng. Of course we have thus far seemingly neglected this staggering prize because we are obsessed with our own navel gazing, internal wealth acquisition strategies. But it is there nonetheless, albeit Ethiopia wants it back, for reasons that should be obvious but aren’t somehow.

      Apart from those three ideas i thought the rest was pretty spot on … especially the observations [comments] about how we expect wealth by entitlement: and hate entrepreneurs with a formal passion. Perhaps the core of our dilemma is that we were and remain a Rentier…

    • Kwame

      @ Sterling, after the US installed a puppet government in Panama the first Canal treaty was signed by the US Secretary of State and a French Engineer by the name of Philippe Bunau Varilla in which the two representatives served the same interests. No single Panamanian signed that treaty. So your claims of US legitimacy really have no basis!

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      South African companies are all over Africa already and have been expanding there for over a decade.

      HOW does that create jobs in SA?

    • Jack Sparrow

      I don’t think that it’s important who is the gateway. What is important is that SA has a golden opportunity to do business in a stable thriving Africa. The ANC government should support this instead of their dictator pals who destroy economies or steal the cash. Oops but the ANC cadres don’t care about SA’s economy – they want the cash.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Kwane, you got that wrong about the Panama Canal treaty of 1903. This area that’s called Panama was part of Colombia and the government of this country refused to grant the US permission to build this canal. The US promoted a revolution in this area and the new government declared themselves independent of Colombia. The US under Roosevelt recognized this government and they signed the Panama Canal treaty of 1903. The legitimacy of the US being in the Panama come from the US military might in that area and the same can be said of their base in Cuba. You must remember that might makes right because the world has never been run on what is morally right.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy,the problem with SA is that don’t have Igbos in SA like Nigeria because these are the most industrial people in black Africa. These people are called the black Jews of Africa because every where they go these people will start businesses. The movie industry was started in Nigeria by the Igbos and it has expanded all over the world. These people pride themselves on education and they know how to get together to get things done.

    • citoyen

      Of course this article only makes sense if you buy into the Washington Consensus position of “African resources up for grabs – who wants to make a buck?’

      Google the following terms and wise up:

      The New Scramble for Africa


      Obama’s Predator Drone bases – East Africa

      Massive Oil find in Uganda and US stationing 100 troops in that country

      International oil corporations scramble for Libyan oil

      Oil/gas find in Mozambique

      Project for a New American Century – PNAC

      Follow the money trails. Follow the corporations.

      Then get out the fascinating video based on Joel Bakan’s brilliant book:

      “The Corporation”.

      Get a bowl of popcorn, put your feet up.

    • Expzionz

      South Africans are the most negative people I have come across, a lot of South Africans are arm chair critics who never even bother to stand up a make a difference. Standing on the sidelines won’t help you archive anything instead a whole lot of South Africans want to wait until someone makes a mistake then they say I told you so, if your government is messing up you are also to blame for sitting on your backside and doing nothing

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy


      Travel Book after Travel Book that I read, and the memoirs of journalists, report massive Chinese presence in Africa – on farmland, in infrastructure development, in logging – vast amounts of Mozambique’s natural forests have been felled and carted off to China (which they did to Burma as well).

      Which is not surprising – the WHOLE of China was deforested by Mao in his disasterous “Great Lep Forward” campaign.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Expzionz, in Mbembe’s “on Postcolony” he talks about the zombification of Africans by the ruling parties in Africa. He says that in order to survive in Africa, the population has to act like zombies.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy,China has also caused famines in the horn of Africa by taking the land and using it to produce food for export back to China. China is able to accomplish this by bribing the Africa leaders and their cronies so she can have a free hand in grabbing the resources of these countries. Beddy, once again you are on the money in your comment about China.

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    • http://www.concertinacoilfencing.com/ AHMAN ADAM

      Great Post, I love to read articles that are informative and actually have good content. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I look forward to reading more.

    • Vuyisa

      I totally disagree with this analysis becasue the reasons that were provided here were not accurate or in relation with reality. What we have seen in south africa is influx of other african brother from whole of the continent seeking economic and political asylum. While majority of our south africans do not seem to be influxing their countries even though their struggling. What we have seen is south african countries investing in this countries for the benefit of the people of africa by providing neccesary jobs for their survuval. while we have been told that these other afircan countries their ecnomies is growing substantially, which that growth doesa n ot filter down to their people. South African is provdign its own people free house and pension while its not the same in other african countries. Anyone would like to associate themselves with winners or success.

    • Pingback: Finance: Lessons from BRICS | Varsity View()

    • http://www.kommunitygroup.com Shane

      Article is slightly more than a bit selective with detail.

      Notwithstanding, Africa – all of it – truly has the opportunity to be the ‘centre of the universe’ in the next 2 or 3 decades. Read McKinsey’s ‘Lions on the Move’.

    • Marc van Olst

      The article makes us all think. You write though as if there can be only one winner. The truth is that Africa has so much potential and is so far from being ‘saturated’ in terms of gateways that to suggest it is a ‘race’ could be perpetuating the same sort of limiting mindset that has held Africa back. Given the risks of economic shifts, political shifts and other disturbances, Africa really needs several gateways. I would rather that we think about how we use the collective assets of the continent (incl. the undeniably strong physical infrastructure and strong market in South Africa) in symphony with each other and not wish doom on any of the current African assets. That said, I do believe that South Africans need to be careful about talking in a patronising way about their northerly neighbours. If South Africa could truly combine its natural assets with the human capital assets that sit North of her borders (arguably a stronger human capital base per capital than in SA itself) then we would launch a continental emergence like noone has seen. This is what Amsterdam, Antwerp, London and other places did between 1700 and 1900. They became melting pots of all the continents human talent and resource owners. Not to suggest that Africa should follow the same path but rather to provide inspiration to a more collaborative tone of Africa’s emergence. We can start to worry about who the winner is once we’ve started to move. We are on the cusp of something incredible here…

    • http://www.amlanmaiti89.blogspot.in/ Amlan Maiti

      This article is unique, original and engaging. You’ve captured my attention your use of persuasive terminology and logical points. Thank you for this useful information. I will be back to read more of your articles.

    • Coscos

      Sorry to engage in to this dialogue at this time in date but maybe my comment might be an eye opener to Africans at large, First to make it clear South Africa is at the tip of Africa Just at the bottom of Africa if you missed it, to be précis at the South of Africa that is the reason it is called South Africa which mean it is in Africa. We are part of Africa whether someone likes it or not, let me get to the point. As Panama is the gateway to the rest of world through its canal so is South Africa through it freedom and economy, thus are the two factors which put us in the fore front for now, why I say that is for the fact that as South Africans we need Africa to help us grow and Africa needs us to start up. Many of the South African companies will have to venture into Africa so as to enable them to grow and also help most of our African brothers to move up the world ranking ladder, companies like Vodacom and MTN for that matter. These companies are eying what I call the expansion of an empire through the gateway, which will be the only viable way for South Africa to retain the tittle of being the gateway to Africa or from Africa to the world. I am one of the people who are eying our continent. Don’t warry about china. Thanks for a good article.

    • http://olowojojobajoseph.net Joe

      South Africa does not represent the true interest of the African and would never be black Africa Gateway Thats why other true african countries moving forward . The forgiveness by mandela granted to white minority tortured the south Africa black majority for years speaks very loud and clear why south africa not qualify to remain gateway of the continent .Theres a country in west Africa even though had some internal crises like any other country is poised to take her rightful position as the economic powerhouse of the continent very soon.The country has all what it takes to become Africa gateway because of its population , gdp growth, strategical location, Education and ongoing improvement in infrastructure., with high Political influence in the continent. Only time will tell.

    • damnedifIwill

      Why is there a need for a ‘gateway’?

      Airplanes land everywhere.