South Africa Overview

With an abundant supply of natural resources, South Africa is the second-largest economy by GDP in the African continent. The country has 11 official languages – the most commonly spoken first languages are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

Although unemployment, poverty and inequality rates are among the highest in the world and remain a challenge, South Africa has well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors. State-owned enterprises are significant in the country’s economy, with the government owning a share in around 700 enterprises across a wide array of industries.

The country’s major export commodities are gold diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, as well as machinery and equipment.

Global State of the Market Report

In 2020, the Advisory Board Centre mapped professionals currently serving on Advisory Boards. This assessment identified over 11,000 professionals on Advisory Boards in South Africa and there is a projected growth of 120% for the sector in the country.

South Africa’s Advisory Board Landscape

Research has identified that the Advisory Board sector is emerging, and Advisors exist as a profession in South Africa. As an emerging sector, advisory board professionals may have opportunities in key sectors including – finance, real estate and business services – and are encouraged to stay open-minded to start-up and emerging industries.

Future Growth Opportunities

There is a growing opportunity for professionals to increase participation in South Africa, by formalising Advisory Board structures and collaborating on a global scale. As this sector grows, it is important to note that best practice credentials will shift the market from informal to formal Advisory Boards over time.

Key Statistics

Population 58.56m Labour Force by occupation
GDP  351.4bn (USD) Agriculture 4.6%
Industry 23.5%
GDP by sector Services 71.9%
Agriculture 2.8%
Industry 29.7% Global ease of doing business rank 84th
Services 67.5% Global ease of doing business score 59.6/100
Imports 131.721bn (USD)
Export 123.864bn (USD)


Return to Regions We Operate In

Connecting Businesses and Advisors

Let's Connect