South Africa ranks among the world's top 12 maritime trading nations, commanding 6% of the world's sea trade. Yet much of the shipping industry is foreign-owned. Now a new black-owned shipping line - largely owned by former Robben Island inmates - is making waves in the industry.
Cida City Campus, a business and technology university that supports financially disadvantaged students, has launched a broad-based black economic empowerment fund to finance its programmes.
Shoprite Holdings and the Department of Trade and Industry's Khula Enterprise Finance have signed a groundbreaking agreement to grant a limited number of retail franchise concessions, back by outfitting, training and mentoring support, to black entrepreneurs.
Industry-specific empowerment charters have been developed for South Africa's mining, information and communications technology, and financial services sectors, while work is under way on charters for agriculture, transport, construction, health, cosmetics, tourism and the wine industry.
The department of trade and industry, with funding from the World Bank, has established the Black Business Supplier Development Programme, aimed at fast-tracking small and medium black-owned enterprises with potential for growth into the mainstream of the economy.
Local and foreign investors looking for black economic empowerment partners in the IT, telecoms and electronics sectors can now consult an online database of information on South African BEE companies, based on a solid, layered definition of empowerment, and growing all the time.
As large enterprises have restructured and downsized small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have come to play an increasingly important role in South Africa's economy and development.