Another strategically important developing country is South Africa, the linchpin for the rest of Africa. The country’s well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors, along with its modern infrastructure, make it an enticing foreign investment. “Many American companies are taking advantage of South Africa’s trade agreements and competitive advantages to breech the European and Southern African markets,” says Luanne Grant, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa. “Trade with Europe has grown 30 percent in the last year alone, and American companies are taking part in this growth.”
Several U.S. companies have built training institutes to develop a pool of skills for select industries. Such training instills goodwill in the country and has helped to position South Africa as a champion exporter in several distinct sectors: automotive and automotive parts manufacture, chemicals, processed metals and metal fabrications, processed and semi-processed foods and others. However, growth has not been strong enough to cut into the 30 percent unemployment, poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups.