The South African government’s orientation towards foreign direct investment has been in the spotlight in recent months. I have commented on the decision to revoke bilateral investment treaties with northern trading partners, and the negative attitudes towards FDI expressed during my presentation in Parliament last year. In my latest Business Day opinion piece, the product of a SAIIA submission to the Department of Trade and Industry on the dti’s draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, we raise further concerns. There is an interesting election close to conclusion in South Africa, the outcome of which could have unpredictable consequences for the country’s economic policy orientation. If it goes badly for the ANC, then the likely reaction is a swing to the left, and a search for policy tools commensurate with that shift. This bill could become the centerpiece of such a reorientation, and therefore needs to be properly understood particularly for its potential impacts on foreign companies wishing to invest in South Africa. Watch this space for further analysis and updates.
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