South African Competitiveness Forum


South African Competitiveness Forum

Brand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum (SACF) in Johannesburg in early 2015 under the theme “Active Citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”.

Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage.


At the forum Brand South Africa will ask participants to give their views on a number of themes, from youth and innovation to foreign direct investment, the labour market, expansion into the rest of Africa and active citizenship.

A first at the next forum is a session on Global South Africans, which aims to explore ways Brand South Africa, business and civil society can work with South Africans living abroad to tell the country’s story, and advance the nation brand’s global positioning.

Other exciting sessions include a workshop on the nation brand’s “outgoing strategy”. This will focus on business expansion strategy into African markets, and the role perceptions and reputation plays when entering peer markets elsewhere on the continent. Guest speakers from Kenya and Nigeria will provide insight into South Africa’s positioning in these markets.

For more information contact Dr Petrus de Kock, research manager at Brand South Africa, at

Overall theme: Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality

The theme of the next forum is focused on two concepts: active citizenship and the nation brand. The comprehensive research and outcome report from the 2013 SACF highlights several inputs Brand South Africa received in the process. The input received from stakeholders from across South Africa during SACF 2013 informs the approach taken for the second SACF.

Workshop 1 – Global South Africans playing their part in creating a competitive and reputable nation brand

The first workshop will not only discuss the overall theme of the second SACF – active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality – but also examine what Global South Africans are already doing to promote the nation brand. How can Brand South Africa and the Global South Africans work closer together to open opportunities to tell the South African story globally? How can Global South Africans help in achieving the goals of the NDP?

Workshop 2 – Youth, innovation and nation brand competitiveness

Based on consultations with youth organisations this workshop will focus on active citizenship and the nation brand, existing projects that align with the NDP, small business support and business development, and social issues that impact development, particularly in townships and rural areas.

Workshop 3 – Internal and foreign direct investment

South Africa is the continent’s top destination for foreign direct investment. But what are the issues that impact on perceptions of South Africa as FDI destination and trade partner? This workshop will look at support for entrepreneurship and innovation, case studies and experiences of multinationals invested and active in the South African market, existing projects that align to the NDP, and small business support and business development.

Workshop 4 – Education and skills

This session will assemble representatives from the Department of Basic Education, as well as head teachers and civil society organisations involved in education to provide insight on South Africa’s educational strengths and challenges. The session will focus on partnerships for enhancing education quality and relevance to the South African economy. Important issues pertaining to the reputational implications of perspectives on the education system will also be discussed.

Workshop 5 – South Africa @ Work: the role of labour in creating a new brand reality

This session will gather representatives from South African trade unions to identify the unique features, selling points and stories of South Africa @ Work. It is critical for Brand South Africa to gain insight on case studies of the contribution labour makes and how it can change the South African brand reality.

Workshop 6 – The nation brand’s ‘going out’ strategy

The second day of the SACF will open with a workshop on taking the nation brand into international markets. The session will look at the challenges and opportunities for increased cooperation between government, business, and civil society on carrying the message of South Africa into international market spaces. The session will focus on South Africa’s reputation in, exposure to, and interaction with key BRICS and African markets.


South African Competitiveness Forum research reports

This section brings together research reports and analysis to inform the development of the South African Competitiveness Forum.

South African Competitiveness Forum Special Research  Outcomes Report Highlights

Findings presented at the Brand South Africa – Wits Business School Seminar on International Perceptions of South Africa in a complex emerging market environment.
April 2014. Download PDF

South African Competitiveness Forum Research and Outcome Report

This report captures the full spectrum of the design and concept, the regional and specialist consultations, events, research, and ultimate outcomes of the inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum, held in November 2013.
February 2014. Download PDF

News reports

Young entrepreneurs need big business support

The youth of South Africa have the ability to make this country globally competitive; they bring creativity and innovation to the table – but they need the support of big business. More >

South Africa up one place in competitiveness ranking

South Africa has moved up one place from 53rd to 52nd out of 60 countries ranked in the latest world competitiveness rankings by top-ranked Switzerland-based business school IMD. More >