Doing Business in South Africa

By McCoy, Frank | Black Enterprise, May 1995 | Go to article overview

Doing Business in South Africa


McCoy, Frank, Black Enterprise


AFRICAN-AMERICANS, WHO ONCE CONSPIRED THROUGH ECONOMIC sabotage to help bring about the collapse of South Africa's racist system, today have a much different agenda. They want to help expand South Africa's economy.

"The business potential we as African-Americans have here is great," says Sharon Leslie Morgan, the joint managing director of Afritel Cellular Systems (Pty) Ltd., the country's only wholly black-owned cellular telephone service provider. "But it has a lot to do with how we carry ourselves. We can try to make this a little America, or we can fit in as people who understand what the struggle was all about."

To take advantage of business opportunities in today's South Africa, entrepreneurs will be expected to support the Mandela administration's Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP). The plan's goal is to narrow the economic gap between the nation's black majority and white minority.

That is a tall order. The New York City-based Africa Fund, one of the oldest anti-apartheid organizations, reports that apartheid left a harsh legacy. At present, South Africa has an estimated 50% unemployment rate. Black Africans, who make up 74% of the population, own 14% of the land, while whites, who make up less that 14% of the population, control 87% of the land. There is one brick house for every 3.5 whites compared to every 43 blacks.

Blacks are also nearly absent from the ranks of such skilled professionals as doctors, lawyers and engineers. And according to the last poverty survey, conducted in 1989, more than 50% of blacks live in dire poverty, making less than $170 dollars a month, compared with 2.6% of whites.

It may cost an estimated $10.5 billion over five years to implement the RDP. Goals of the program include redistributing 30% of the land, building more than 1 million new homes, electrifying 2.5 million homes and providing clean water and sanitation, universal access to affordable health care and telecommunications to all citizens. Naturally, African-American investment in every category is encouraged, particularly when it creates jobs.

The Clinton administration recognizes this potential. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown designated South Africa as a "big emerging market" and appointed Millard Arnold as minister counselor to promote bilateral ties between the United States and South Africa.

To better understand the potential of the South African market, BLACK ENTERPRISE spent several weeks in South Africa last October. In addition to speaking to African-Americans and South Africans in business and government, BE was also represented at the Made In USouth Africa Expo, a Johannesburg-based exhibition of goods and services attracting over 230 exhibitors. (See sidebar, "Resources To Help You Tap Into South African Markets," for details on these and other programs designed to open up South African markets to American entrepreneurs.)

What we found was that the African-American presence in South Africa was striking. There were black corporate executives from AT&T, Duracell and Chrysler at the Made In USouth Africa Expo, More than 30 African-American companies paid up to $7,500 for a booth, lodging and airfare with no guarantee of contracts to attend this event. These included several BE 100s companies new to the South African marketplace. Hair care products manufacturer Luster Products of Chicago and BET International, a subsidiary of Washington-based Black Entertainment Television, which broadcasts programs on a South African network, were among the newcomers. There have been joint ventures between major corporations, African-American investors and black South Africans. A prominent example is New Age Beverages Ltd., a joint venture between Pepsi-Cola International and Egoli Beverages LP, announced last June. New Age Beverages is a Pepsi bottling franchise owned by black South Africans in partnership with Egoli Beverages Ltd., a consortium that includes prominent African-Americans, such as BE Publisher Earl Graves, attorney Johnny Cochran and actor Danny Glover. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Doing Business in South Africa
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.