Last Updated on September 5, 2022

What Are the Challenges of Doing Business in South Africa?

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South Africa is one of the most economically prominent countries on the continent. As we know, Africa is moving forward in the sector of business very quickly. South Africa is no different. It is one of the leading countries from this perspective. As a result, there are many opportunities of doing business in South Africa. However, there are some challenges and investment complexities also. Hence, we have come up with some challenges of doing business in South Africa.

Economic growth in South Africa is spectacular.

While most of the countries in the continent are lagging economically, this country is moving fast forward.

However, you might face some challenges doing business in South Africa.


Without prior knowledge about those, your total effort may end in smoke. Hence, in the next paragraphs, we will share some of those challenges.

As a whole, we will give you some idea about South Africa’s business climate. Hopefully, you will find some new ideas for investment.

Challenges with opportunities

The whole continent is full of uniqueness. The same applies to business in Africa.

There are some unique challenges as well as endless opportunities for doing business in South Africa.

However, our target is not at the opportunities of doing business in SA. Today, we will talk about the challenges of doing so.

A different skillset

Skillset is the primary recommendation for the success of any business. However, the business sector in the whole world requires a similar skill set.

Africa is sitting on the opposite pole in this aspect. As a country of this continent, South Africa is no different.

The whole scenario of the country is somewhat different from other countries of the world. There are social superstitions to pull you behind.

Many social, economic obstacles are there, not to mention the political ones. The South African government is an integral part of doing business here.

As politics is the ruling power, you have nowhere to move without it. Even in the case of starting a business, you will face many political obstacles.

Hence, doing business here will require you a completely different set of skills. However, the scenarios are changing a bit now.

The South African government is more liberal than ever. They now work as a force for economic growth, not against it.

There were colossal racism problems earlier. However, the situation has changed a lot in recent times.

There are still some effects of racism, though. If you have the proper skill set to pass these obstacles, you may consider making investments here.

Inequality still exists

Not so many years ago, there were the terrible claws of apartheid, inequality throughout the whole world.

The liberation of Nelson Mandela and his being president reduced that to a great extent.

However, inequalities are still present in business in Africa.

As a result, business problems persist. We still find examples of inequalities in race, location, and gender.

Its harmful effects on business sectors are also notable. While there are many business opportunities for men, women are still lagging.

There are not enough opportunities for women in education. We see its lousy impact upon the continent’s business and economy.

However, the African government is trying now to eradicate these inequalities. Hopefully, they will reach the target shortly.

Doing business in the whole continent will become much more manageable then.

There will be continuous investments from merchants too. We can easily hope for that.


Corruption is the mother of every evil in businesses. And unfortunately, the continent is a pure example of that.

Most of the countries in the continent are highly corrupted. From root levels to different African governments are connected with it.

Some countries of this continent always rank in the list of most corrupted countries. However, South Africa is far behind other countries in this aspect.

The government is continuously fighting corruption to establish comparatively good business weather. They have been successful in this pursuit in recent times.

Their upward growth in business sectors talks on behalf of that.

However, you cannot deny the presence of corruption even in their root-level businesses.

Hence, you will have to fight a great challenge to overcome it. Even if you want to do business being honest, the circumstances won’t let you.

Maybe that is why many big companies have not yet made any investments in these countries.

However, in the upcoming time, the whole scenario may change. And indeed, we hope for that.

Still under development

South Africa has many business opportunities, as we speak. Their robust economic growth testifies that.

However, the continent is still under development. Prosperous countries in businesses, like China and India, Africa is also growing fast in population.

And in the near future, the total population of the continent will cross both countries.

That is yet another upcoming business opportunity on the continent. As a result, there are hopes for increased investments.

Well, as we are talking about businesses, the continent is still developing. When it gets developed, its business condition will grow for sure.

However, continuous economic growth indicates some hope in business sectors. Shortly, the business graph will reach even higher.

With proper support from the South African government, business owners can now expect to overcome the challenge of development.

Crime rate

As we mentioned, SA is still under development. As a result, the crime rates are very high.

Indeed, it is a bad sign for any business. The rate of theft in the country is a big challenge, especially for foreign business owners.

If you can ensure enough security, only then can you hope for a good outcome from your business.

Overcoming this challenge has become more crucial for businesses than others.

Lack of infrastructure supply

Infrastructure is important for any business. No matter what type of business you own, infrastructure is the first step to success. And from this perspective, SA is still very far behind.

However, there are some hopes for businesses in this aspect. Many business-supporting infrastructures are being built across the country.

Hopefully, the amount will soon be enough to support business in Africa.

Lack of education in the workforce

Education of the workforce is crucial for any business. If a company has a more educated workforce, the success rate increases a lot.

On the other hand, only an uneducated workforce can bring a business to its knees. We find its many examples in businesses in the country.

Unfortunately, the continent is still lagging in education. The scopes of education are still very few on the continent.

As a result, we do not see a good outcome and investments in the business sectors. That is undoubtedly one of the top business risks and challenges of doing business in South Africa.

Cost of doing business in South Africa

Like other countries of the continent, South Africa lags in resources and business infrastructure. Also, there is a lack of other essential business elements.

Hence, the cost of doing business goes up. In developed countries, you will find every necessary element for your business near your reach.

SA is entirely different in this aspect of businesses. You will have to either produce the business elements or get them at a higher price.

And then there is the tax issue. Like most under-developed or developing countries, the tax rates in South Africa are relatively high.

It affects the businesses quite well. Because no matter how much you earn from your business, you are to spend a lot on your business products.

What does South Africa need in business?

We have talked about many challenges of doing business in the country. So what does the country need to do for the betterment of businesses?

Well, if you combine the challenges of doing business, you can easily determine the solutions.

For example, corruption must be shackled to bring good fortune to businesses. Then, there is a poor work ethic in the labor force that you will use in your business.

Undoubtedly, that should be eliminated. In many cases, we see that businesses bring the foreign workforce to eliminate the poor work ethic.

However, that is quite tough for a business in Africa. That is because people want to go to developed countries for work, not underdeveloped or developing ones.

Besides, investment is essential for any company, especially for the new ones. Hence, more investments should be made in the business sectors of the country.

in the background is a south african's flag. In the foreground is a hand with some coins.

Once there is a flow in the investment, the rest becomes easy. Then comes the intolerable level of corruption of business in Africa.

Maybe, it is the main lagging force of businesses. If one can ensure its riddance, the sectors of business in Africa will be the most benefitted.

And with that, the economic growth will rise, hopefully. The African governments should take necessary steps in this measure.

The company owners will blame them at the end of the day if the government fails to secure their businesses.

Final thoughts

A business requires many potentials, many materials. We have mentioned some factors that a business in Africa needs.

But most importantly, companies in this continent need some business enthusiasts. That business enthusiast can be you.

After all, someone must come forward to make the business climate better.

And with the growing business opportunities of South Africa, you might do some profitable business for yourself. Who knows?

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