Doing Business in South Africa: Getting Ready for the World Cup 2010

Matthew MacLachlan

11 Jun 2010

As the World Cup football tournament kicks off, the whole world is watching South Africa. For many, the lead-up to the tournament has provided the opportunity to do business with South Africa for the first time since the fall of apartheid in the 1990s.

Since the release of Nelson Mandela from Robben Island prison in 1990, South Africans have sought to reconcile their differences and unify the ‘Rainbow Nation’ under a coherent government that benefits all by improving social conditions and building a strong economy. This has led to strengthening ties with other economies and development projects such as hosting the 2010 World Cup.

The inward investment in South Africa and the new relationships with international companies involved with construction, infrastructure development, marketing and travel and tourism, amongst other fields, means that people in companies all over the world will be dealing with new colleagues and partners in South Africa.

South Africa is a uniquely diverse country, which, due to its history, is home to people of African, Asian and European origins. There is diversity even within these groups, with large populations of Europeans of both English and Afrikaans descent, many tribes of Africans, such as Xhosa, Zulu or Tsonga, and Asians from throughout that continent.

The complex cultural landscape created by the representatives of different continents is further complicated by the cultural differences that exist between those belonging to the smaller groups. These cultural differences are the source of diverse communication styles and different approaches to doing business.

How can a person doing business with South Africans for the first time know the best approach to communication and working given the variety of cultures they might be dealing with?

Colleagues from the Xhosa or Tsonga tribes, for example, might be very exuberant or expressive in their behaviour, while Afrikaner colleagues, in contrast, could be very serious and taciturn. Learning about the different communication styles and attitudes you will find when doing business in South Africa can help you anticipate differences and adapt your style accordingly ensuring a more successful interaction.

Cross Cultural Awareness Training coursessuch as Communicaid’s Doing Business in South Africa equips you and your employees with the knowledge you need to work effectively with colleagues and business partners in South Africa, enabling you to develop successful business relationships and strengthen international ties.

With the backing of Communicaid’s intercultural training courses, you can ensure that you get the results you need from the World Cup, no matter what happens on the pitch!

 



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