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Survey on the Economic Climate
amongst Austrian Direct Investments 
in South Africa

7. August 2013

In preparation of the EU-SA Business Forum and Summit in July 2013 the Austrian Trade Commission Johannesburg has conducted a survey amongst Austrian companies in South Africa.

The aim of the survey was to determine the sentiment of the current economic climate, which included the general economic situation as well as specific measures e.g. B-BBEE. The study is a joint initiative carried out by fellow EU member states and supported by the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa.

From the 50 Austrian companies contacted 20 % replied. The sentiment amongst Austrian companies is very much in line with the overall EU wide country results.

Major findings of the Austrian survey include:

 Expectations for the development of the economic climate in South Africa are rather pessimistic. All respondents believe it to stay at the same bad level or even decline. No surveyed Austrian company has an optimistic outlook.

 There is a big distrust towards the current South African government. Confidence in the government is decreasing. The lack of competence of the civil service is an issue, especially due to strict regulations and slow processes of e.g. work permits.

 The level of corruption is perceived to be extremely high (seen by 90 % as "pessimistic" or "very pessimistic").

 Concerns about Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment have been raised by many participants. 78 % percent of respondents view B-BBEE as a costly exercise with no tangible advantage for their businesses. Changes on the current B-BBEE policy are regarded to worsen the situation even more.

 Other dominant factors influencing investments and the businesses are low productivity, a lack of reliable energy supply, volatile exchange rates and a planned land expropriation bill.  Respondents have also pointed out the importance of skilled workers for their businesses; regarded by 60 % as a "very significant" factor.

 Additionally the survey has shown that crime is still of significant influence in the respondents’ businesses.

Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact the Austrian Trade Commission in Johannesburg per E or T +11 442 7100.