In a global economy, where our success as a nation depends on full integration of our people and country into the mainstream of the world markets, our counter-productive forex exchange controls must be removed.
South Africa’s apartheid regime implemented the practice in order to prevent capital flight as part of an effort to maintain an inward-looking, isolated state.
The fact remains: rands do not leave South Africa through the foreign exchange mechanism. In order to acquire the money needed for offshore investments, South Africans trade their own hard-earned rands for foreign currency. These rands merely change owners. Former Reserve Bank government Gerhard De Kock lamented the failure of our forex controls, implemented shortly after the Sharpeville massacre. Former president Nelson Mandela said their removal must be a matter of time.
That time is now. The freedom of our people to trade and invest easily with anyone in the world, regardless of their origin or country of residence, is a human right.
Entrepreneurs in Public Policy recommendations to ease international business and trade:
- Focus free trade efforts on the ability of small businesses to access other African markets (market access).
- End currency controls that make acquiring investment from abroad difficult or nearly impossible for entrepreneurs (regulatory reform).
- For incoming investors, explore e-visa applications online to the experience of a potential investor of business partner visiting South Africa.