Faculté des sciences et de médecine

Surviving in the BRICS: the struggle of South African business in coping with new partners and investors

Wenzel, Nadine ; Freund, Bill ; Graefe, Olivier

In: International Review of Applied Economics, 2019, vol. 33, no. 1, p. 51–70

The purpose of this paper is to improve our understanding of how South African economic actors react to the gradual entry of non-South African BRICS firms in their established business areas. Throughout the twentieth century, South Africa’s trade and investment activities were conducted overwhelmingly with Western countries. However, the end of apartheid coincided with significant shifts as... More

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    Summary
    The purpose of this paper is to improve our understanding of how South African economic actors react to the gradual entry of non-South African BRICS firms in their established business areas. Throughout the twentieth century, South Africa’s trade and investment activities were conducted overwhelmingly with Western countries. However, the end of apartheid coincided with significant shifts as new players had a wider and growing presence. South Africa entering the BRICS alliance is symbolic of the change. Ease of entry into the South African economy has increased greatly. South African businesses in key subsectors in the mining and capital equipment industry have had to adapt to new players, and find space in new structures, value chains and initiatives. This paper presents the results of this research activity from the perspective of the South African political economy. Practice-oriented research investigated how six local companies forge new partnerships and how well South African firms adapt and cope with an altered and often unstable environment. It assumed that entrepreneurial activity is not autonomous but takes place within a larger organisational framework. Entrepreneurial activity facilitates the effective exploitation of particular niches and relationships with service providers.