Overview of the economic relations
Germany is one South Africa's most important trading partners. In 2014, Germany ranked 2nd, behind China and ahead of the USA.
Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/dpa) In 2014, goods worth about 5 billion Euro were exported to Germany. In the same period, South Africa imported goods from Germany worth approximately 8.8 billion Euro. German companies in South Africa contribute significantly to employment, vocational training and technological development that is underscored by a wide range technology transfer.
The Republic of South Africa has changed fundamentally since the transition to democracy in 1994. Today it is integrated into global trade and the most powerful economy in Africa. Wide-ranging macroeconomic reforms have improved competitiveness and boosted the economy, thus playing a substantial role on the global market. This is supported by a highly developed financial, legal, communications, and transport infrastructure. In addition to its role as an important emerging economy, South Africa is also seen as a bridge to other African markets by investors.
Enlarge image Vehicle production at BMW's plant in Rosslyn (© picture-alliance / dpa) South Africa accounts for a tremendous amount of mineral reserves worldwide and is Africa's largest power producer. Many German car companies have production facilities in South Africa and a broad spectrum of suppliers has emerged in the vicinity of the plants. Next to mining and a world-class financial sector, a wide variety of services is a key of the South African industry.
In 2014, South Africa enjoyed economic growth of 1.5 percent and a gross domestic product of about 350 billion US Dollar, inflation came in at an annual average of 5.7 percent. Despite the country's prominent economic role in Africa, the country still faces an unemployment rate of around 25 percent. Furthermore, the current energy crisis as well as the threat to the producing sector that the high amount of strikes pose have a hampering effect on the economic development of South Africa.
A lot of major international companies are represented in the ”bridge to Africa”. From these, many German businesses have established offices and manufacturing facilities in South Africa, for example, BASF, Bayer, Bilfinger Berger, BMW, DB international, DHL, German Bank, Hitachi Power Europe, Lanxess, Mercedes Benz, MTU, SAP, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp and Volkswagen. In addition, there are numerous small and medium-sized enterprises. The approximately 600 German firms established in South Africa have created over 90 000 jobs. Apart from the traditional economic sectors for which South Africa is renown new industries such as the energy and infrastructure sector, the information and telecommunication industry as well as the health care market are considered to be interesting future markets particularly for German companies.