Johannesburg - New research into investment opportunities in SA has been given the blessing of the department of trade and industry (DTI).
Chief director of the international trade division Brendan Vickers said that the department hoped that when the report is published next year its conclusions would help brand SA as a destination for investment and business.
The research is being undertaken by UK-based research and consultancy firm the Oxford Business Group, which focuses on providing insight into emerging markets.
"SA's economy is significant both regionally and globally, and boasts a number of attractive features, including a strong financial sector, diversified manufacturing, newly-acquired Brics status, and advanced infrastructure," said Vickers, adding that the country did, however, have developmental challenges to confront.
He said these included particularly high levels of poverty and unemployment, which inform the need for a new growth path for the country.
So ultimately The Report: South Africa 2012, which as the title suggests will be published next year, aims to inform domestic and international communities about the opportunities and challenges of investing in a particular economy.
Vickers, who was filling in for director-general Lionel October at a press conference discussing the planned report, said the research would have to measure the consequences of slowing demand from key trading partners in Europe and the US, and assess the extent to which a fluctuating rand and inflationary pressures impact on the country's competitiveness.
He said the research would also possibly evaluate the degree to which SA could optimally capitalise on a potential commodities boom and increased investor appetite into regions and markets forecast to avoid recessions - of which Africa, the world's second-fastest growing region after Asia, is most certainly one.
The DTI attaches great importance to matchmaking investors with the initiatives emerging across SA as part of its drive to increase the level of direct investment flow into the country.
This new report is seen as relaying to the international market the opportunities that SA's economic development is producing, thereby supporting the growth and employment creation objectives outlined in the government's new growth path and industrial policy action plan (Ipap-2).
"The department has played an instrumental role in the establishment of several industrial development zones in the country to create an investor-friendly environment in SA as part of a bid to tap new investors, while also supporting the development of small businesses for exports," the department said.
Vickers said the department did not commission the report and would not be paying for it. The intention is for Oxford Business Group to produce an independent, objective publication.