It’s not all doom and gloom in South Africa. The Springboks, comedian Trevor Noah, rapper Sho Madjozi, and newly-crowned Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi are among those who have shown the country in a good, if not brilliant, light on the global stage this year.
According to Dr Petrus de Kock, GM of research at Brand SA, the “brand performance” of a country is anchored by perspectives on governance in global, corporate and political terms.
“The national brand’s global and domestic reputation is to a large extent shaped by perceptions of efficient internal governance, while [its] contribution to global governance has a direct bearing on international perceptions,” De Kock says.
Individual wins in perspective
He adds that victories such as winning the Rugby World Cup and Miss Universe titles get South Africa onto the lips of people in other countries and creates well-deserved respect, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into economic growth for the country.
De Kock says South Africans are not just endowed with talent in the field of arts and culture, but have proven exceptionally innovative when it comes to the fourth industrial revolution, and have exceeded expectations with regards to 3D printing capabilities.
“This year we had the first-ever in the world 3D-printed [prosthesis] in an ear transplant that was innovated here in South Africa,” he says, adding that this illustrates that investments in corporate, business and state tertiary research and development make the country incredibly competitive.
Based on the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitive Index (GCI) methodology, South Africa still ranks extremely well in terms of market size, finance system, and innovation capability.
De Kock points out that SA ranks in the top 40 in innovation capability, the top 30 for innovation, science and technology, and is one of the top 10 globally for 3D technology capability.
Brand SA uses these positive indicators of SA in its drive to position the country internationally.
Below are some of the indicators he speaks of:
However, if you live in South Africa and not under a rock, you can’t miss that the government is doing a lot of damage to the SA brand that ordinary citizens are working towards building.
In the Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2018, South Africa dropped in rankings.
The ranking focuses on sustainable economic opportunity, safety and rule of law, participation and human rights as well as human development.
“We have seen on the governance front in the government index that [as] South Africa we have dropped down from number six to seven in the 54 countries on the continent and that has been around perceptions on production and corruption – there is no doubt about that,” says De Kock.
On the upside, South Africa is ranked third in the Good Country Index for its contribution to peace and security. “That [indicates] a tremendous amount of contribution that we make to peace and security on the continent,” says De Kock.
He adds that SA went up seven positions in the GCI. “So we are not exiting 2019 on a bad note.”