Mr Kingsley Makhubela : CEO of Brand South Africa
The South African nation brand’s dynamism and resilience has withstood a challenging year and has remained strong.
This is attested by South Africa’s performance in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Competitiveness Index which placed the country within the top 50 most competitive nations in the world and the second most competitive on the continent.
To summarise, South Africa’s biggest improvements come in the areas of: health and primary education (up 6 places), labour market efficiency (up 6 places), technological readiness (up 16 places), and innovation (up 5 places). South Africa has also improved in the areas of: macro-economic environment (up 4 places), higher education and training (up 3 places), and business sophistication (up 2 places) while dropping in the area of infrastructure (down 8 places), institutions (down 2 places), goods market efficiency (down 6 places), financial market development (down 5 places) and market size (down 4 places).
The Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance saw South Africa holding steady at number 4 of 54 countries on the continent. This Index looks at the performance of African countries in the areas of: safety and rule of Law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. South Africa’s performance in each of these areas earns it the position of 7 in terms of safety and rule of law (up from position 8 in 2014), 4 in terms of participation and human rights, 2 in terms of sustainable economic opportunity and 6 in terms of human development, in Africa.
The Brand Finance list of the 100 most valuable nation brands was also released in October this year. According to this list, South Africa is the 37th most valuable nation brand in the world with a nett nation brand value of US$ 225 billion. Brand Finance measures the strength and value of the nation brands of 100 leading countries using a method based on the royalty relief mechanism employed to value the world’s largest companies. The study measures a nation brand across the following pillars: goods & services, investment and society. These are divided into sub-pillars: tourism, market, governance and people & skills.
What do these numbers tell us about South Africa as a nation brand?
These figures tell us that South Africa is a visible nation brand amongst the global community of nations. This is something that all South Africans can be proud of since we remain a relatively young democracy.
Our performance in these indices equally tell us that work needs to be done to ensure that we address the challenges that impact negatively on the nation brand and our global competitiveness. This includes, amongst others, areas of education, healthcare, policy cohesion. However, we can again feel confident that the National Development Plan has also highlighted similar areas and work is underway to decisively deal with these challenges. Addressing these challenges systemically will see South Africa increase its global competitiveness.
The numbers equally tell us that South Africa’s dynamism, energy, industriousness and personality encapsulated by the national pay-off line, Inspiring New Ways – continues to contribute to our nation brand equity.
Domestic and international challenges aside, South Africa has all the ingredients to move ahead as a globally competitive nation. This will however require the concerted effort of each citizen in our country since ultimately, the nation brand reflects each of us.
The South African people are at the heart of this democracy. It is the people of this country who make our country great and it is the people of our country who show the world who South Africa is. Brand South Africa thanks you for playing your part and carrying the South African brand with pride.
Follow Mr Makhubela on @klmmakhubela