South Africa: Foreign Traders Are Vital to Township Economies - Removing Them Will Be Bad for Economic Growth

opinion

Foreign business activities are deeply embedded in township business sectors. Even the notion of a foreign township business is misleading. The vast majority of foreign-owned businesses in townships involve a mutually beneficial partnership between foreign nationals and South Africans -- that of tenant and landlord.

The Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill plans to reserve certain business activities in designated townships "exclusively and solely" for South African citizens and permanent residents. One could be forgiven for thinking that such a policy will promote South African economic advancement, the rationale being that the diminishment of foreign business activity -- frequently portrayed as threatening and parasitic -- will create opportunities for South Africans. But on closer examination, the impact is unlikely to lead to outcomes that benefit South African township economies.

Foreign business activities have become deeply embedded in township business sectors. They are intricately linked to many stakeholders and beneficiaries ranging from consumers, employees, to numerous formal and informal distribution and supply chains. Even the notion of a foreign township business strictly speaking is misleading. The vast majority of foreign-owned businesses in townships involve a mutually beneficial partnership between foreign nationals and South Africans - that of tenant and landlord.

Between 2010...

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.