South African entrepreneurs visiting Atlanta recently portrayed their country as an entry point into other African markets for small- and medium-sized Georgia companies as diverse as pharmaceuticals manufacturers, restaurant franchisers and wine merchants.

Some 40 South African business leaders met with potential Georgia partners at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, June 17-19, during a week-long trade mission to Atlanta, Chicago and New York.

“There are many incentives to use South Africa as a base, including tax credits and good rates on exports,” Lionel October, deputy director general of South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, told GlobalFax.

Mr. October said smaller foreign manufacturers in the automotive, biotechnology, telecommunications and tourism industries can receive a cash grant worth 33 percent of their total investment in machinery and equipment. They may be eligible for other foreign investment grants if they commit to longer-term investments of three to five years, he added.

“We’re looking for foreign parties to co-invest with us in South Africa, as well as in other African nations,” said Raisibe Morathi, chief investment officer of the Industrial Development Corporation, a South African development finance institution.

The IDC encourages investment in small and medium black-owned businesses. Ms. Morathi noted that franchises of U.S. restaurant chains have been particularly successful in this area.

“We’ve made progress in the last 10 years, but we still need to teach skills to create black entrepreneurs to create black consumers,” Ms. Morathi added. “We will assist Atlanta companies to fund franchises in South Africa to do that,” she asserted.

Wine makers in South Africa are also looking for Georgia partners, according to Max Maisela, chairman of the South Africa Wine & Brandy Co., which represents wine producers, cellars, laborers and trading companies.

“South Africa’s wine industry is a gateway to the rest of the continent, and the opportunities are enormous, but we cannot do it on our own. Also, South African wines’ exposure to the world has been very limited, so we need to partner with Atlanta companies that can help assimilate us into the world market,” Mr. Maisela said.

He said that 90 percent of South African wine is produced in Cape Town by hundreds of growers with little known vineyards. He needs help in branding them collectively in foreign markets as well as to Africa’s growing middle class.

Contact Mr. October at or visit for more information about investment incentives in South Africa. Contact Ms. Morathi at or visit for investment funding assistance. Contact Mr. Maisela at or his Atlanta consultant Robert Lattimer at 404-696-0837 or visit for information about South Africa’s wine industry.