Streamlining South Africa’s Export Development Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Decision Support Model Approach

South Africa - 1 August 2015

Given its abundant natural resources and accelerating consumer-driven growth, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has much to offer investors and traders. Yet SSA remains weakly integrated into global and regional value chains due to, among other things, geographical disadvantages, infrastructural shortcomings, high transport costs and difficult-to-access market intelligence—all of which add to the cost of trade. While not an insignificant player in international business and trade circles, South Africa is facing shrinking demand in its traditional export markets and has to plot a new economic course after decades of over-reliance on commodity exports and value-added imports. This paper looks at how a market selection tool, the Decision Support Model (DSM), can streamline the process of identifying export opportunities, particularly at an intra-regional level. Covering both products and services, and adaptable to different countries’ circumstances, the DSM acts as an aid to trade facilitation by simplifying market selection decisions and pinpointing both short and longer term business opportunities in high-potential sectors.