In a world of mounting global economic headwinds, how do you convince a potential investor to pick your country ahead of nearly 200 others? Ultimately the decision will boil down to one key consideration: the investor’s expected return on capital. The higher that number — taking into account the risks associated with the investment — the easier the decision. Two ways to improve the odds are therefore to lower the costs and risks of doing business. In SA, discussions around investor sentiment centre mainly on the risks of doing business. This is arguably a hangover from the Jacob Zuma era, when a finance minister could unceremoniously be dismissed and a mines minister could publish key policy documents with hardly any consultation with stakeholders. Land expropriation without compensation and the debate around the Reserve Bank also remain red flags. At the weekend’s India/SA Business Summit held in New Delhi, it was the cost discussion that dominated. The reality is that SA is a smal...

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