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South African Business 2023

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The 2023 Guide to Business and Investment in South Africa.

The cost of electricity

The cost of electricity generated by renewables has dropped enormously since the private producers’ programme began. Credit: Cennergi Services has been oversubscribed so there is an appetite to enter the South African energy market. Eskom’s unbundling will be another spur to growth. The legal separation of transmission is the first step, with the other two elements, generation and distribution, to follow. The idea is not to privatise the entities but to find private partners and to allow for competition within the various fields. The R130-billion pledged at COP26 by the EU, the US, Germany, France and the UK to assist South Africa’s transition from oil and coal to greener technologies is not straightforward; it comes as a mixture of grants, risk-sharing instruments and concessional finance but it will allow South Africa to fund projects that will help the country to move away from fossil fuels without further stretching Eskom’s precarious finances. The mining sector is also paying close attention to the world’s shifting priorities in terms of how to power the economy: commodities attracting the most attention are those which have the potential to power the green economy, platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome among them. In August 2021, South African mineral exports were 44% higher than the year before. Covid obviously had a lot to do with that figure, but R166.5-billion still represented a good return. Although gold mining is declining in volumes (even while prices rise), the major investment of Vedanta Zinc International in a project in the Northern Cape and Sibanye-Stillwater’s acquisition drive in the PGM sector are significant economic drivers. De Beers’ investment in its Limpopo diamond mine, Venetia, will significantly expand that facility’s life. Coal and iron ore continue to be exported in large volumes through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal on the east coast and the Port of Saldanha on the west coast. The agricultural sector fared fairly well during the Covid-19 lockdown. Although sectors like wine suffered badly, a reported increase in maize exports, as well as greater international demand for citrus fruits and pecan nuts, helped the industry expand by 15% (StatsSA). However, since Covid, there has been the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has not only disrupted markets for South African produce but upset logistics chains. Grain crops such as maize, wheat, barley and soya beans are among the county’s most important crops. Only rice is imported. Wine, corn and sugar are other major exports. Basing economic growth on a devaluing currency is not always the best long-term method of boosting economic growth, but high-value agricultural exports and increased numbers of high-spending international tourists hold some promise for helping to get the South African economy back on a growth path. Horticulture in particular is seen as holding great potential not only for increased earnings, but for creating jobs. South Africa’s traditional strength in minerals still holds good. ■ SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2023 10

Mpumalanga: a world-class tourism destination A South African province that has everything a tourist could want. Travellers should prepare to be astounded by the natural attractions and experiences that are on offer in Mpumalanga. It is South Africa’s most easterly province, endowed with an extraordinary richness of natural beauty from canyons and waterfalls and with scope for a huge diversity of adventures and experiences ranging from encounter-rich game drives to paragliding. Mpumalanga offers a wide array of activities for the active tourist, ranging from abseiling to white-water-river rafting, with fly-fishing, paragliding, mountain biking, bungee jumping, hiking, 4x4 trails and many outdoor adventure activities in between. Mpumalanga is undoubtedly the ultimate destination in terms of wildlife experience. The Kruger National Park, Manyeleti, Loskop Dam and numerous private game reserves dotted throughout the region offer an exhilarating experience that brings visitors closer to nature. Mpumalanga boasts a conservancy area that is rich with diverse flora and fauna. The Panorama Route offers spectacular landscapes with attractions like the Blyde River Canyon (third-largest in the world and known as a “green canyon” because of its subtropical vegetation, pictured). The province also boasts majestic waterfalls and high-altitude scenic drives leading to attractions like God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels. Mpumalanga’s rich heritage is still largely unexplored but more and more visitors are being exposed to fascinating history. The many heritage sites in the area include the Samora Machel monument near Mbuzini and the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site (pictured), boasting rock formations dating back more than 3.5-billion years. Other sites not to be missed are the mining village of Pilgrim’s Rest, the Highveld Heritage Route (which abounds with adventurous tales from history), the stone circles of Mpumalanga and Goliath’s footprint to name just a few. Mpumalanga is rich in culture and boasts the Swazi, Ndebele and Shangaan people with icons like Dr Esther Mahlangu who has managed to preserve, package and export the vibrant geometric art of the Ndebele globally. Bird watchers can have a glimpse of more than 500 different birds endemic to the Kruger National Park or the town of Chrissiesmeer, the centre of South Africa’s own Lake District where four river systems start their journeys across the country. The small tourist town of Dullstroom is referred to as South Africa’s trout-fishing mecca. Mpumalanga is an ideal sporting destination with several world-class golf courses and the Mbombela Stadium that was built for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and has subsequently hosted international football and rugby matches. Get off the beaten track and explore the many other tourism offerings of the Mpumalanga Province. For more information: Email: info@mtpa.co.za and reservations@mtpa.co.za Website: www.mpumalanga.com Facebook: Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency | Twitter: @Mtpatourism | Instagram: @mpumalangatourism

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