South Africa's economic dominance in Africa and in the southern African region is an accepted fact but its role in the continent has long been contested. South Africa's member ship of the G20 brought with it expectations from some quarters that it would represent Africa within that grouping. The recent admission of South Africa into the BRIC(S) came with many discussions and debates on South Africa's role as a 'gateway' into Africa. But what does this actually mean? Three possibilities have been mooted: “First, multinational companies could use South Africa as a hub for regional headquarters, utilising our superior services infrastructure to co-ordinate their regional activities. Second, multinationals and South African corporates could take advantage of our relatively advanced transport and distribution networks. Third, companies could use South Africa as a sourcing hub.” However, as South Africa struggles with chronic unemployment and poverty problems, questions arise as to the potential and possibility of South Africa being a gateway into Africa. In an effort to unravel the issues, SAIIA and TIPS have come together for this dialogue which will reflect the views of government, business and labour.
SAIIA and TIPS have come together to create a platform for the discussion of the abovementioned issue.
About the presenters:
Peter Draper's current domestic affiliations include: Senior Research Fellow in the Economic Diplomacy programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs; Adjunct Professor at Wits Business School; Programme Director of the think tank consortium at the Centre for Development and Enterprise; and Research Associate of the Department of Political Science at the University of Pretoria. His current international affiliations include: board member of the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis; non-resident senior fellow of the Brussels-based European Centre for International Political Economy; chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Trade; and member of the World Economic Survey Expert Group coordinated by the Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
Dianna Games is an independent consultant and researcher on African business. Since 2004, she has been CEO
of Africa At Work, a company that covers a range of services linked to business in Africa, and she has had a
number of research reports published. Her advisory and research work has included engagements by Nepad,
Comesa, Development Bank of Southern Africa, South African Institute for International Affairs, Brenthurst Foundation, United Nations, Gordon Institute for Business Science as well as international companies in South, Southern and West Africa. She is also the Honorary Chief Executive of the SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and
a columnist on African issues for Business Day newspaper