The way forward for South Africa is to boost competition and promote regional trade integration. These are critical for restarting the nation's idling export engine to bolster growth, which in turn will help to create jobs and cut poverty.
South Africa ranks at a respectable 53rd in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. It is second among the Brics countries, and many aspects of its financial sector are the best in the world.
International economists predict steady growth in the South African economy over the next year, one sign that the country is increasingly competitive globally – and is attracting substantial interest from Chinese investors.
African trade efficiency is set for a major boost when three regional economic communities sign an agreement in June to establish an enlarged free trade area encompassing 26 countries – roughly half of the member states of the African Union, stretching from Cape to Cairo.