‘Our higher learning institutions, academics, scientists and technologists are sought after worldwide’


South Africa continues to get global acknowledgement and admiration for having some of the finest minds that are sought after at the highest levels.


Proof to the pudding are the three recent appointments of the country’s respected academics which include – Professors Thuli Madonsela, Tshilidzi Marwala and Zeblon Vilakazi– by top international institutions and organisations;


Prof Marwala, an accomplished academic leader with a multi-disciplinary research background, was appointed as the 7th Rector of the United Nations University, (UNU) IN Tokyo, a decision taken after an extensive international search process. He is currently the Vice Chancellor and Principal at the University of Johannesburg.


Wits University, Vice Chancellor, an internationally renowned nuclear physicist, Prof Vilakazi has been inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in the world, having been started in 1660, dedicated to the promotion of excellence in science to benefit humanity.


Prof Madonsela was recently elected as the Chairperson of the Management Board of the Cities Alliance; a global partnership fighting urban poverty and supports cities to deliver sustainable development. As the former Public Protector and Law Commissioner, Madonsela was one of the key contributors in the drafting of the world renowned South African Constitution.


A Bloom Consulting Global Reputation Study commissioned by Brand South Africa, which compared South Africa to countries like Egypt, Nigeria, the UAE, the UK, Brazil, Chile and Thailand, among others, revealed that South Africa is one of the top five searched countries for talent as a top destination for students, especially from France and Japan, who look to come here for their studies.


Over 4 000 searches on South Africa as a destination for studying were made in 2021 alone. For those wanting to study in the country, opportunities were cited as ranking positively for 43% of would-be students, with people and values cited positively by 46% of would-be students. Significantly, 55% of surveyed individuals, who were part of the study, regarded South Africa as positive in relation to studying.


South African institutions of higher learning have furthermore been at the forefront of research on HIV/AIDS and TB, which also capacitated them to be the first to sequence the genome of the Omicron variant of the novel Corona Virus.


According to the Acting CMO at Brand South Africa, Thoko Modise, South Africa’s top universities are world renowned, well respected, and globally highly ranked, luring students from across the globe.”


“The University of Cape Town, for example, is ranked as the top University on the African Continent according to the Best Global University Index at 109-1700 and is also ranked top on all five major university-ranking indices. Further, six South African universities ranked in the top five hundred on the index: the University of Cape Town (109), the University of the Witwatersrand (212), Stellenbosch University (317), the University of Johannesburg (417) the University of Pretoria (434) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (371)’, Modise points out.



Building a Nation Brand that inspires its people and is admired globally

“All this enhances South Africa’s positive status globally, an attribute that is consistently addressed and monitored by Brand South Africa in order to maintain and boost the country’s favourable image and reputation,” according to Modise.


“Perceptions on any country brand are generally shaped by actions taken by its citizens across business, civil society and government, to promote its competitive strengths, values, identity, unique offerings and advantages.” she explains.


“In addition, Brand South Africa has to ensure that all stakeholders take a critical look at the current state of the country brand and propose possible solutions on how we can jointly successfully navigate our way to a better tomorrow in terms of positively positioning the Nation Brand,” she explains.


“As a country committed to rebuilding and creating a better life for all its citizens, we have a duty to showcase what we are capable of achieving as a unified force. South Africans have proven themselves as a very resilient nation. We pride ourselves on our ability to overcome adversity. Our academic excellence is proof that we continue to be a nation that inspires new ways,” she concluded.



South Africa’s unique selling points


Economic prowess: South Africa is the economic powerhouse of the African continent, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of R1.9-trillion (US$283bn) – four times that of its Southern African neighbours and comprising 30% of the entire GDP of Africa. South Africa has a strong entrepreneurial and dynamic investment environment owing to a highly developed economic infrastructure. South Africa is also one of the highest-ranking developing economies and surpasses countries such as Hungary, Italy, Brazil, and Thailand.


Diverse sectors: South Africa has the most dynamic economy on the continent, with key productive sectors ranging from finance, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, transport and logistics, communications, and information technology.


Ease of doing business: According to the World Bank, it costs just R175 to start a business in South Africa, which is cheaper than 90% of the rest of the world. Reserving a company name and registering with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) can cost less than R200. South Africa is ranked 10th for its start-up affordability, with a total cost relative to the monthly average income of 3%. Most neighbouring countries have considerably higher cost-to-income percentages.