While South Africa has been successful in attracting major investment from automotive companies in the last decade, Alexander Erwin, the country’s trade minister, said new opportunities were now emerging in less traditional industries, including business process outsourcing.

 Mr. Erwin visited Atlanta with a business delegation, May 16, at the end of a trade promotion tour that included stops in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and New York.

The group met with both large and medium-sized companies here, which signals a positive shift in interest on the part of American investors looking at South Africa, he said.  Historically, investment from medium-sized firms has come from Europe, which has more experience in the African market, he explained.

The delegation’s promotion of South Africa’s business process outsourcing industry, he added, was met with particular interest by firms in the U.S. seeking to outsource financial and software development services abroad.

Mr. Erwin cited the country’s skilled, English-speaking workforce and infrastructure improvements as major factors in the rapid growth of business processing in South Africa.

The nascent industry, he added, has no plans to compete with low costs offered by the heavily developed Indian business processing industry.

“But it’s very clear that we complement the Indian situation – we’re in a different time zone – in this new follow-the-sun approach to processing aimed at providing service 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mr. Erwin said.

The delegation also met with aerospace companies in the U.S. to promote South Africa as a location for components manufacturing, he said.

In targeting aerospace investment, the country plans to build on the success of its automobile and auto-parts manufacturing sectors, which have attracted investment from BMW Group, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG, Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota MotorCorp., Mr. Erwin added.

For additional information, contact the South African embassy in Washington at (202) 232-4400 or visit online at www.saembassy.org