Connectivity through services: the case for a focused services trade strategy for South Africa

South Africa - 11 August 2017

This paper aims to address some of South Africa’s shortcomings in its services trade by presenting a broad strategy that provides an overarching framework for South Africa’s trade activities in the services arena. The paper places particular emphasis on the importance of trade negotiations as a vehicle for harnessing the development potential of trade in services from a South African perspective. In addition, the paper gives attention to some of the most serious barriers impeding South Africa’s services trade negotiations, including the fact that currently the country’s negotiators have insufficient information and knowledge to drive an effective services agenda (Sauvé & Roy, 2016). This is a particularly worrying factor as services are subject to many restrictive policies and regulations, especially in Africa (Rantanen, 2016). The formulation of an effective, inclusive and sustainable trade strategy for services will go a long way towards dismantling these obstacles and creating a more enabling environment in which service providers can operate and grow.