Why Fortune 500 Companies Need Johannesburg to Crack the African Market

Picture this—a vast cityscape punctuated by thousands of buildings and looming skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. No, this isn’t Hong Kong or New York—we’re talking about Johannesburg. Since gaining popularity as a gold mining settlement back in the 1800s, this South African city has remained an economic force both in South Africa and throughout the continent, maintaining its places as top contributor to the overall $326 billion GDP of the South African economy.

Johannesburg Leads South Africa in Economic Output

Known more commonly as “Joburg” or “Jozi,” Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the country’s primary economic and financial hub. The bustling city is also the provincial capital of Gauteng––South Africa’s wealthiest province.

The Human Sciences Research Council notes that Joburg’s economic growth is “relatively superior” when compared to national and provincial levels. According to 2018 Gauteng Province Socio-Economic Review & Outlook, formerly high “unemployment rates have declined to levels last seen before the 2008 global economic crisis,” which bodes well for the city’s labor force.

Tourism continues to be an important economic driver for the city thanks to impressive historical attractions such as the (Nelson) Mandela House, Apartheid Museum, and Constitution Hill, among others. Like other South African cities, Johannesburg has benefitted from favorable trade acts with global leaders such as the United States. Currently, South Africa’s top trading partners include the European Union, Sub-Saharan Africa, and China.

Global Brands Have Long Betted on South Africa

A number of top global brands and companies currently compete for opportunities in South Africa, choosing cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town as their gateway into the rest of the continent. Jozi and Cape Town in particular have earned a reputation for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, making them likely candidates for international companies looking to expand.

From accounting firms like Deloitte, PwC, and Ernst & Young to big-name tech companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco Systems, and SAP, chances are your favorite brands have already laid claim to a piece of the Johannesburg pie. Seeing huge potential in the African market, Facebook selected Jozi for its first location on the continent back in 2015. Other big-name companies with locations in Johannesburg include Philips, Barclays, Burger King, and Unilever.

How Joburg’s Economic Opportunities Are Rocking the Real Estate Market

According to data from JLL’s Q1 2018 Market Report, Johannesburg remains the first pick for businesses who are looking to break into the South African market with a presence in the city. A stable demand for space in Jozi has increased developer interest, particularly in the Sandton, Rosebank, and Waterfall nodes.

Sandton has long been called the richest square mile in Africa, and while many businesses still select office locations downtown, Sandton remains a highly concentrated pocket of wealth that draws businesses from around the world. Overall, numbers indicate that “developer confidence is strong across the main centres with pockets of optimism and opportunities for solid investment.”

With a rich, innovative environment that stimulates economic growth, Johannesburg holds special importance for both South Africa and the continent as a whole. A blossoming corporate scene has created an abundance of wealth in the landlocked city, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world.

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