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Global multinationals seeking to invest in Africa are no longer automatically opting for South Africa first before spreading their wings to the rest of the continent, but are instead increasingly setting up shop directly in the market they wish to enter.

“From the briefs we are receiving, it is clear that global companies expanding into Africa no longer favour South Africa as the obvious port of entry,” said Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO of executive search firm, Jack Hammer.

Goodman-Bhyat said that while it used to be a matter of course for companies to start building their representative teams in South Africa when establishing a presence on the continent, this is happening less frequently than in the past.

“Companies are now looking for country managers, executive leadership teams and sales offices based elsewhere on the continent in large part because they are starting to realise the value of having a physical presence. In part, this is due to a real and growing resistance by local businesses to doing business with counterparts who display limited commitment to future growth of the local economy.

“Local markets want to see you there, and they want to see you making a commitment to the country, not just piggy-backing off market opportunities,” noted Goodman-Bhyat.

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