Country profile South Africa

Number of Dutch companies active: 350
Population: 60.4 million (2023)
Area: 1,219,090 km² (29 times the size of the Netherlands)
GDP growth: 2.04% (2022)
Head of state: President Cyril Ramaphosa

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The NABC and South Africa

In October 2023, the NABC’s Managing Director, Ms. Rosmarijn Fens, participated in the Netherlands Economic Mission to South Africa led by Dutch Minister Piet Adema. As part of the agri-, and horticulture delegation, Rosmarijn deepened relations with Dutch horticulture companies interested in fostering future-proof horticulture in South Africa.

In March 2018, NABC organised a trade mission to South Africa in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Green Cape from South Africa. The mission programme included business to business meetings and matchmaking with South African companies within the circular economy sector and field visits to South African waste management facilities.

In August 2016, the NABC, Wageningen University, the Zambezi Valley Development Authority, the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique, and SANEC organised a joint trade mission to South Africa and Mozambique. The key focus areas for this trade mission were Agribusiness, port development and gas related infrastructure.

Investment climate

South Africa is among the continent’s most preferred business location for western investors. The country is Africa’s economic powerhouse and boasts a diverse economy and strong investment climate. South Africa has a solid infrastructure, an educated population and an excellent financial and services sector and offers ample opportunities for Dutch companies.

South Africa serves as the gateway to Southern Africa due to continental expertise and the ability to act as a base for critical business services in Africa. High potential sectors include agriculture (raw materials & horticulture), water, transport & logistics, energy and life sciences/health care.

Due to the long history the Netherlands and South Africa share, the country has been for a long time one of the most popular destinations in Africa for Dutch companies to start their business in. Therefore, It does not come as a surprise that many Dutch corporates such as Unilever, Philips and Heineken have offices in South Africa.


While the political turmoil that plagued South Africa over the past decade has left its mark, the country always stayed on the radar for Dutch investors and companies. Especially since the elections in 2019, the NABC has seen a clear response from Dutch businesses to (re-)enter the South African market and tap into the numerous business opportunities that South Africa has to offer.

Although COVID-19 has hindered economic growth, the GDP has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Challenges, such as a shortage of skilled employees, power outages and high crime remain. Governmental transformation policies, such as Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBB-EE), create additional requirements and policies on land reform without compensation. Further, a new possible national health insurance system needs to be considered.

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Diplomatic relations



In Pretoria, the Netherlands is represented via its embassy led by Ambassador Ms. Joanne Doornewaard.


In Cape Town, the Netherlands is represented via its Consulate General led by Mrs. Hélène Rekkers.

South Africa


In The Hague, South Africa is represented via its embassy led by Ambassador Mr. Vusimuzi Philemon Madonsela.

Presence of Dutch companies

There are currently around 350 Dutch companies active in South Africa.

Myrthe van der Gaast

Africa Insights Desk Manager