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The Trade & Investment Unit provides export development training and workshops to small businesses in order to equip them to be export-ready in order to exploit global opportunities. These trainings are undertaken quarterly in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Gauteng Growth & Development Agency (GGDA). The City's trade performance has been showing significant growth over the past 5 years, reaching a trade surplus of R53 billion in 2017 (IHS Markit, 2019).

The City of Johannesburg has the largest amount of international trade compared to other municipalities in Gauteng (when aggregating imports and exports, in absolute terms) with a total of R850 billion, and remains one of the largest in the country (GGDA). The Mining sector, Metals and Machinery are the largest contributors to the City's exports (HIS Markit, Rex, 2019).


Trade Agreements

EU: Trade Agreement between the European Union (EU) and South Africa

The EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 10 June 2016 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Angola has an option to join the agreement in future. The EPA guarantees access to the EU market without any duties or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland. South Africa will benefit from new market access in addition to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and South Africa that currently governs the trade relations with the EU. The new access includes better trading terms mainly in agriculture and fisheries, including for wine, sugar, fisheries products, flowers and canned fruits.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Agreement

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade (1996), as amended in 2010, is one of the most important legal instruments guiding SADC's work on Trade. It is an agreement between SADC Member States to reduce customs duties and other barriers to trade on imported products amongst SADC Member States. As part of its programme of Regional Integration, SADC has made considerable progress in removing barriers to trade, encouraging growth in the region. SADC has also signed a Protocol on Trade in Services to provide for liberalisation of trade in services.

Trade Agreement between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states

The EFTA states signed a Free Trade Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in 2006. The EFTA Member States are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Agreement covers trade in goods and lays the foundation for a further engagement of the Parties with regard to intellectual property, investment, trade in services and public procurement. A Joint Committee is established for the supervision and administration of the Agreement, and provisions are included providing for consultations and dispute settlement procedures. In January 2018, EFTA and SACU launched a review process of the Agreement aiming for a general update and development of the FTA.

A preferential trade agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR

The preferential trade agreement with MERCOSUR is comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay was concluded and signed in 2009. While the scope of the market opening is more limited, once ratified, the PTA will create a legal and institutional framework for managing South Africa's trade relations with these important countries of the South and offer further opportunities to improve South Africa's export growth in the coming years.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a customs union among five countries of Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). SACU's objectives include to, inter alia, facilitate cross-border movement of goods between member states; promote integration of member states into the global economy through trade and investment.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was approved by the U.S. Congress in May 2000. The purpose of this legislation is to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

​Connecting you and your business

For inward investment into the City, the DED's Trade & Investment Promotion Directorate serves to connect your expanding business to our dynamic City. We've got the sector knowledge, the business information and the connections you need. The unit ensures you can get going quickly and easily to benefit as soon as possible from investing in Joburg, whether you're a business start-up, a logistics hub or utilising our City as a base for your African headquarters, as a springboard into the rest of the continent.

We'll help you find the exact right location and real estate, be it cost competitive land and premises in our urban development zone in the Inner City or state-of-the art offices in the sophisticated business centre of Sandton, home to the country's securities exchange, our investment, legal and consulting sectors and many multinational branch offices. Large scale, job-creating investment projects are now earmarked for fast-track decision-making and processing.

The Investment Prioritisation Committee was set up to facilitate issues raised by investors and works with other city departments to resolve matters pertaining to large investments in the City. Its objective is to reduce turnaround times, thereby reducing the cost of business, attracting investment, and creating jobs.

Opportunity Centres

Opportunity Centres page


South Africa retains its position as the top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination on the African continent, according to the 2018 Ernst & Young (EY) Africa Attractiveness Survey. The report also notes that during 2017 FDI into the African economy increased by 6%, and that in 2016 a total of 676 FDI projects came to African economies, increasing to 718 in 2017.

In this regard, the top five nations on the African continent of FDI projects are South Africa with 96 projects, giving it a 31% share of FDI in 2017(EY).

Sector support is one of the crucial components of the City's economic development strategies, with key sectors identified as drivers that could influence and fast track economic growth:

  • Financing and Business Services
  • Construction and Property;
  • Information and Communication Technology;
  • Business Process Outsourcing;
  • Freight and Logistics;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Tourism (including events and cross-border trade);
  • Creative Industries; and
  • Retail.

To encourage investment, both locally and foreign, the Sector Development Programme, which is key to the City's Long-Term Economic Development Strategy, looks to strengthen the competitiveness of the sectors and includes sector clustering and support initiatives.

Financial and Business Services

This sector continues to contribute the highest percentage to Joburg's economy, with the financial services sector of world class standard and backed by a sound regulatory and legal framework. The sector boasts dozens of domestic and foreign institutions providing a full range of services – commercial, retail and merchant banking, mortgage lending, insurance and investment. Foreign interest in the sector is strong, with financial services and business services together enjoying the majority of FDI in Joburg.

Joburg is the SA headquarters for all the foreign and domestic banks operating in SA, including the world's top four banks, HSBC, Citibank, RBS and JP Morgan Chase Bank. Joburg's position as the economic hub of SA and Africa, and strong infrastructure commitment, opens up numerous opportunities for a diverse range of business and consultancy services, from legal, through accounting and insurance, to architecture and engineering. The world's largest consultancy firms, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, all have their national headquarters in Joburg, while local large accounting practices such as BDO Spencer Steward and Grant Thornton are also based in the City.

Construction and Property

The Urban Development Zone (UDZ) tax incentive is boosting Joburg's construction industry, as is the Inner-City Property Scheme (ICPS). The UDZ scheme aims at encouraging inner city renewal across SA. It takes the form of a tax allowance covering an accelerated depreciation of investment made in either refurbishment of existing property, or the creation of new developments within the inner city, over a period of five, or 17 years, respectively. The ICPS addresses urban decay and accelerates the rejuvenation of the CBD. Dilapidated, abandoned and illegally occupied buildings, as well as vacant pieces of land, are being regenerated and rejuvenated.

SA does not have non-recourse debt, the bulk of properties are full title, while the rights of property owners are protected in the Constitution, giving investors security. Foreigners can own immovable property in South Africa without restriction. However, all foreign funds remitted to the country must be declared and documented. The property must also be endorsed ´non-resident´, as a condition for repatriation of funds. ( The country also has a very sophisticated listed property sector, with high liquidity, providing an alternative investment option for those who do not want direct ownership of land or property.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Focus areas for Joburg include ICT skills development, ICT research and development, provision of ICT infrastructure and ICT incubation and venture capital. The City is focusing on catalytic and sustainable projects and is partnering with business and academia to take these forward. According to the ITU's ICT Index, South Africa ranked 92th in 2018 in terms of ICT development, the best among African countries. The City is already the hub of the local ICT and telecommunications industry, with a significant number of the global players running branches out of Joburg, including Google, SAP, HP, IBM, Nokia, Siemens, LG, and Oracle or investing through partners based in Joburg, such as Neotel (Tata Communications), Dimension Data (Cisco), Vodacom (Vodafone) and Core Group (Apple), or using the City as a base for operating in the rest of the continent.

Business Process Outsourcing

The South African market for Global Business Services – GBS (Including BPO, BPS, BPM, Shared Service and  Contact Centres) consists of a mature and sizeable domestic market that employs approximately 190,000 people and a vibrant and growing international market (delivering export services from South Africa) employing approximately 40,000 people, that has witnessed high growth over the past four years, growing by 22% annually since 2011 (28% in 2018), which is twice the global growth rate of the sector, and three times faster than competitors, India and the Philippines.

The BPS operators in the GBS sector deliver a range of services for their local and global clients including contact centre services, finance and accounting services, legal services, IT services, Education services, HR services and knowledge services while captive operators provide shared services to their corporate divisions and business units. The domestic market is dominated by financial services (66, 5%) followed by Telecommunications at (8,7%) and IT at (5,4%) while the international market profile looks quite different, being shaped by demand from our source markets, with Technology and Communications representing (59%) of all offshore work, Retail (11%), Financial services (7%) and a variety of other services representing (24%).

A recent World Bank Report cited the BPO sector as both desirable and attractive in terms of FDI ranking the sector as a priority, growth sector for the country in terms of achieving the auspicious goal of $100bn investment over a five-year period.  To achieve the investment goal, government recently launched the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) which serves as a linkage between government and fourteen priority sectors.  GBS has been identified as in one of the priority sectors and is represented by a partnership with the official Trade Body and Sector Association, BPESA, at the table. To add to the countries accolades, the 2018 Global Front Office BPO Omnibus survey published by Ryan Strategic Advisory, ranked South Africa second globally for the provision of front office BPO contact centre services.

Freight and Logistics

With road, air and rail being well developed around Joburg, and receiving further significant investment, it is no wonder that Joburg is becoming increasingly recognised as a freight and logistics hub. The largest inland port in Africa and the largest container depot in SA, the City Deep Transport Logistics Hub, are found in Joburg. City Deep is one of the prominent Logistical Hub located in the City of Johannesburg. It is home to Africa's largest dry port. It is also South Africa's largest dry port which is hugely significant to the industrial well-being of the country as a whole. R122-million is currently being invested in massive infrastructure upgrades, new developments and accelerated expansion of the roads leading to the terminal. This is over and above the R900-million that state-owned logistics and rail entity Transnet will spend over the next few years on the freight terminal, allowing it to handle increased volumes.

With the nearest seaport – Durban – about 500km away, the importance of the City Deep Hub to the regional economy is far-reaching. It is a key forwarding and clearing hub of goods to the rest of Africa and is connected by major rail and road infrastructure links. Joburg is connected by rail to all the main cities and ports in the sub-continent, including Maputo, Durban, Richards Bay, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Boosting our rail network, SA has just commissioned 600 modern trains to replace ageing rolling stock on the nation's commuter rail networks. OR Tambo International Airport (previously Johannesburg International Airport), the biggest and busiest airport on the continent, is the passenger and freight hub for southern Africa. The OR Tambo International Airport Industrial Development Zone project serves to further promote opportunities within the freight and logistics sector.


With manufacturing generating close to 14% of Joburg's GVA, the City has embarked on an aggressive plan to re-align the sector away from traditional heavy industry input markets to focus more on sophisticated, high value-added production and activities. This is in line with the provincial government's undertaking to make a special effort to focus on value-added exports sectors, with the primary aim of diversifying Gauteng's industrial base.


Business travellers spend three times more than leisure travellers when visiting a country. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, business travel spending in South Africa in 2014 was estimated at R81.3bn. Business travellers attending business events in Joburg mostly stay in paid-for accommodation, and undertake pre or post conference tours or day trips to explore the city and its surrounds. Business events visitors (including delegates for meetings, exhibitions, incentives and conventions), contribute to job creation, skills development, innovation, building the knowledge economy and to the City's gross domestic product. The City of Gold attracted 4.05 million international overnight visitors in 2017 according to the annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities' Index (GDCI).

Johannesburg also recorded the highest international overnight visitor expenditure among African cities with travellers spending US$2.14 billion in 2017, well ahead of Marrakech (US$1.64 billion). On average, international visitors stayed 10.9 nights and spent US$48 per day in Johannesburg, with shopping accounting for more than 50 percent of their total spend. Of the total number of foreign business visitors who arrive in Gauteng province, Joburg's market share is the greatest of all the province's regions attracting 82.4% of all business professionals and 73.8% of all business events delegates.

By far the biggest percentage of all visitors to Gauteng come to Johannesburg. Of these, 67% visit the city for entertainment, 72.7% for medical purposes, 75% for sports participation and 83% as sports spectators. In 2014, 58.1% of African travellers visited Gauteng province to visit friends and relatives. 18.4% came to shop, 4.8% were business professionals, and 3.2% attended conferences. Of the 18.4% that came to shop, 97.1% came to shop in Johannesburg, with 68.3% visiting Johannesburg to be with friends and family.

Joburg has also been recognised with various accolades including:

  • Johannesburg's Maboneng Precinct was recently named as one of the World's Coolest Suburbs by Forbes Magazine [2018]
  • Based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world Johannesburg has made TripAdvisor's top ten list in the Travellers' Choice Awards for Best Destinations in Africa [2018]
  • The Bannister Hotel in downtown Jozi's Braamfontien was voted as the 2018 Best Value Hotel by Afristay
  • Johannesburg's Sandton Convention Centre has recently been named as the Best Large Conference Venue in the 2018 Business Traveller Awards Africa, as well as "Best Conference Venue Centre in Gauteng" in the Star Readers' Choice Awards 2018. [Source:]

Creative Industries

The Gauteng audio-visual industry contributes in excess of ZAR 2.5-billion to the province. More than 70% of the SA filming and television industry is based in Gauteng, mainly in Joburg. The City is already the country's primary broadcasting hub for international television and radio. CNBC Africa, owned by NBC Universal, has its broadcast operation in Joburg. CNBC is the first digital, server-based television operation to be established in Africa, and broadcasts to 41 countries via Multichoice Africa.

With its world-class industry infrastructure, recognised expertise and wide range of locations, South Africa's powerhouse province of Gauteng - and Joburg in particular - is a filming destination of choice. Movies filmed wholly or partly in Joburg over the last few years include award-winning local production District 9, superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron - which chose the city as the setting for one of the biggest action sequences in the film, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House and Vehicle 19.


Retail plays a huge part in Johannesburg's economy, encompassing everything from micro 'spaza' shops to sophisticated world-class shopping malls. Our City has a number of large retail precincts; the inner city business district and the Sandton City precinct are two of the biggest.​




The percentages refer to the percentage that sector or industry contributes to the Region's Gross Value AddValue Add (GVA).

Region A: (Diepsloot/Kya Sands/Midrand)

Region A, contributes 13 % of Joburg's GVA. In Region A, Kya Sands node was selected as an industrial node. There is also a large concentration of manufacturing firms as a proportion of total business activity. Kya Sands has opportunities in the manufacturing of furniture, electrical machinery and equipment, food, beverages and tobacco products and machinery and equipment. It is further characterised by hi-tech and light industrial businesses. Midrand is one of the fastest growing areas in South Africa.

Key industries and sectors:

  • Finance and business services (30.7%)
  • Community, social and personal services (19.8%)
  • Manufacturing industries (electronics industries, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, automotive and others) (15%)
  • Trade (15%)
  • Construction – leveraging off the property development trends. (4.4%)

​Region B: (Randburg)

Region B contributes approximately 12% of Johannesburg's Gross Value Add (GVA), with the finance and business services sector by far the largest contributor to its economy. For Region B, Strijdom Park has been selected as an industrial node, and has opportunities in the manufacturing of Electrical Machinery & equipment.

Key industries and sectors:

  • Finance and business services (32%)
  • Community and Personal Services (23 %)
  • Trade  (14 %)Manufacturing (13 %)
  • Construction (3.7 %)
  • Transport and communication (8 %).

Region C: (Roodepoort)

Region C's of contribution to Jobur's GVA is 12%For  Region C, Robertvilleis the largest node by surface area and also has the highest proportion of manufacturing firms as a percentage of total business activity .Robertville has manufacturing activity across 16 different sectors ( machinery & equipment, wood & wood products etc).

Key industries and sectors:

  • Financial and business services (28.8 %)
  • Community and Personal Services (24.2%)
  • Trade (15.9%).
  • Manufacturing (14.4 %)
  • Transport (6.9%)
  • Construction (4.6%)
  • This is followed by smaller contributions by construction, transport and the trade sector.

​Region D: (Greater Soweto)

Region D contributes 10% of the region's GVA. Soweto is South Africa's most famous township, and attracts visitors from all over the world, making tourism one of its major economic drivers. The informal sector has proliferated in Soweto to become a very important source of employment opportunities and income. Retail is taking off with, for example, Maponya Mall, Soweto's first mega upmarket shopping centre. In Region D, Nancefield node was selected. Nancefield has manufacturing activity across 12 different sectors.  There are 107 firms within the node. Almost 50% (56) of the firms in the node are manufacturing firms and 9 firms provide transport and logistics services. The main manufacturing subsectors are furniture (25 firms); food, beverages and tobacco products (9 firms) and wood and wood products (9 firms, also mostly furniture manufacturers).

Other key industries and sectors:

  • Community and Personal Services (33.2%)
  • Financial and Business Services (23.3%)
  • Manufacturing (11.3%)
  • Trade (13.8 %)
  • Transport and Communication (9.6%)
  • Construction (3.8%)

Region E: (Sandton/Alexandra/Orange Grove)

Region E's contribution to Joburg is 21%, and it incorporates the Sandton CBD, a preferred location for many large banking and financial services institutions. Business activity is focused around this financial district. The finance and business services sector is by far the largest contributor to the region's economy. In Region E, the Marlboro/Wynberg node were selected. There are 498 firms in the node of which only 66 are manufacturing firms.  The main manufacturing sectors with opportunities are textiles, clothing and leather goods (13 firms), furniture and jewellery (9 firms), and chemicals (8 firms)

Key industries and sectors:

  • Finance and business (33.2%).
  • Trade (14.6%)
  • Manufacturing (13.6%)
  • Community and Personal Services (21.7%)
  • Transport and communication (8.1%)
  • Construction (4.0%).​

Region F: (Inner City)

Region F contributes 27% of the region's GVA the Inner City area of Joburg is home to the headquarters of several of South Africa's major banks and mining houses, as well as the Gauteng provincial government. The City Deep Hub falls within this region. The city's economic rejuvenation strategy focuses on urban renewal projects, the development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and the encouragement of creative industries and cultural tourism. In Region F, City Deep node was selected.

There are 174 establishments in City Deep of which there are 21 manufacturing and 29 transport and storage establishments City Deep is the largest inland port in Africa and a gateway into the southern African region; offering specialised logistics facilities such as warehousing, storage, customs clearance and container repair. Opportunities: The node has 4 railway stations close to or within the industrial node: Kaserne West, City Deep, Benrose North and Benrose South. The railway network connects City Deep through major cities to the major container ports of Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura

Key industries and sectors:

  • Finance and business services (28.7%)
  • Trade (14.6%)
  • Manufacturing (14%)
  • Transport and Communication (7.4%)
  • .Community and Personal Services (24.3%)
  • Construction (3.4%)

​Region G: (Ennerdale/Orange Farm/Lenasia)

Region G contributes 5% of the region's GVA There is limited economic activity in this region, although there is high agricultural potential. Potential also exists in the manufacturing; wholesale, retail and trade; transport and communication sectors, as well as tourism. For Region G, Devland node was selected. In Devland there is a concentration of food processing firms, with 26% of firms in the food, beverages and tobacco sector. There are 74 firms in the node, 31 of which are manufacturing firms.  Most of the remaining firms (28 firms) are wholesale and retail entities.  There are 8 manufacturing-related services firms in Devland. Four provide transport and storage services, two provide maintenance and repair services, and two provide other business services.  The largest manufacturing subsectors are food processing (8 firms), wood and wood products (5 firms) and iron and steel

Key industries and sectors:

  • Financial and Business Services (26.6%)
  • Community and Personal Services (24.6%)
  • Manufacturing (13.4%)
  • Trade (13%)
  • Agriculture (0.6)​