South Africa has tax incentives in place to attract investment, Jan Van Vollenhoven, economic counselor at the South African embassy in Washington D.C., told attendees of a breakfast meeting of the South African American Business Association (SAABA) in Atlanta last week.  But he also warned that projects requiring government financial support had little chance of success.

      If you need money from our Ministry of Finance, the ministry will close the door on you, he said at the breakfast meeting held at the Atlanta law firm of Troutman Sanders.  But if you can show that you will be able to save the ministry some money, you will be very welcomed.

      Mr. Van Vollenhoven’s comment was made in response to a question concerning the opportunities available for providing technology training.  He quickly added, however, that the World Bank was developing a project for the entire continent of Africa, which would promote the development of new telecommunications networks and long distance learning.

      Kevin Langston, director of the international trade division of the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade (GDITT), said price competitiveness was fundamentally important for both traders and investors in South Africa, particularly in view of the depreciation of the rand.

      The rand’s depreciation has made South Africa’s exports more competitive and its steel exports have been soaring, according to Mr. Van Vollenhoven, to the extent that the country is facing its first anti-dumping suit in the U.S.

      U.S. exports to South Africa between January and August amounted to $2.3 billion while U.S. imports from there were not far behind for the period, amounting to $2.1 billion, he said.

      He also reviewed South Africa’s detailed development plan, which is broken down into eight regional initiatives.  Within each initiative particular economic sectors are emphasized.

      Donald Keene, a former regional legal counsel for Southern Africa for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is the GDITT’s representative there and may be reached by E-mail at Donald@GTRO.CO.ZA

Other useful web sites cited by Mr. Van Vollenhoven are that of its Department of Trade and Industry at

and To learn about other SAABA programs, call Michele Gelb at (404) 885-3642; fax, (404) 962-6567.  Her E-mail address is