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Economic Cooperation


Economic Cooperation


Thanks to a young and expanding population and a growing and ever-diversified economy, Africa will become an increasingly important element of the economy and world politics in the near future. Over the last few years Italy has been increasingly aware of the importance of deepening its relations with this continent.

South Africa is in this context an indispensable actor: it possesses the most advanced and diversified economy of the continent and therefore not only constitutes a market of great interest as such but is also an essential gateway to the markets of the region thanks to good infrastructure networks, strong financial institutions, the soundness of democratic institutions and the independence of the judiciary.

For these reasons, South Africa is by far the most important commercial partner of Italy in Sub-Saharan Africa: the exchange was about 3 billion Euro in 2016, with a positive balance in favor of our Country of around 270 million Euro.

Approximately 75% of Italian exports to South Africa consist of intermediate goods and investments: mainly machinery and industrial equipment (almost 30%), chemicals and pharmaceuticals (11%), motor vehicles and other means of transport (9% ) and electrical and household appliances (7.3%). 25% is represented by consumer goods with increasing admiration by South Africa of products Made in Italy: Food and beverages account for 6% of the share of our exports and jewelry items around 5%.

Imports consist largely of productive inputs for our industry: more than 60% involves the mining industry. Other important sectors include iron and steel processing, food and beverages (8.3%) and agricultural products (5.6%, of which over 60% are citrus fruits).

There are numerous Italian companies that have made productive investments in the Country or are present in the South African market and in the region. Alongside large groups, there are also many SMEs whose size and flexibility are well-suited to the role of a provider for companies established in South Africa or to partnering with local businesses. They can often take advantage of the presence of a vast Italian-South African community that has been established in the Country for decades and successfully engage in entrepreneurship.

The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria is competent for Namibia, Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius, countries that have a lesser economic importance in the region as opposed to South Africa but nevertheless have interesting economic opportunities.

Italy has invested strongly in supporting the activities of our operators by offering a Sistema Italia which is ready to inform and assist them, and wants to support the competitiveness of our businesses. The Embassy in Pretoria, with the Economic and Commercial Office, the Scientific Section, orientated at projecting technological Italy, the Financial Attache' sent by the Bank of Italy, coordinates the promotion activities of the Sistema Italia in the Country: the Consulates of Johannesburg and Cape Town, the Italian Cultural Institute, the ITA / ICE Agency located in Johannesburg (South African industrial and financial powerhouse) and the Italian-South African Chamber of Commerce.


Doing Business in South Africa

Doing Business in Italy