If you are setting up, doing business, or dealing with partners from that country in South Africa, it is imperative to understand the basics of corporate culture in this particular area. Business meetings and negotiations often start with both parties having unspoken assumptions and certain expectations of their partners. In-depth knowledge of South African business culture can make all the difference between a successful business meeting and a lost business.
Practical advice on business etiquette in South Africa
Below is our list of pieces of advice to keep in mind when dealing with South African partners:
South Africans are unlikely to do business with people they haven't met personally. It is advisable to have a friend introduce you in order to build successful business relationships. If possible, try to draw the partner's attention to South African business references that you already have in your portfolio.
It is highly recommended that you receive letters of recommendation in case you have done business with mutual contacts of the company or entrepreneur with whom you wish to develop a relationship.
Most of the time, a first business meeting is more about personal contact and getting to know one another than a direct discussion of business issues. The chances that South Africans will do business with you are much higher if they trust you as a person.
Keep in mind that almost everything is closed from mid-December to mid-January, as well as during the Easter and most Jewish holidays. Therefore, do not plan your business trips and meetings on these dates.
Working hours in South Africa are almost the same as in Western countries, including the fact that most of South African companies are closed during weekends. Major exceptions are banks and state office employees, because banks and state authorities are often open in until noon on Saturdays.
You may face quite a challenge to locate a certain address in South Africa. This may happen because of the way in which the address system works. In case you are driving to a meeting with clients/partners, you better leave early to make sure you have some extra time to find your destination address and to park your car safely. We would recommend taking a cab rather than driving yourself.
Remember that acceptable business clothes are suits and ties. Shirts preferably in light colours. If you aren’t wearing a jacket, make sure to put on a long sleeved-shirt. In case you are invited to a dinner at someone’s house, a dinner jacket is normally expected. It is advised for women to put on dresses and skirts instead of pantsuits and the former should not be sleeveless, too tight, or very short, as it is considered a bad taste. Keep in mind that winter in South Africa starts in June and lasts until August, so do not forget to dress something warm in case you are visiting during these months.
Most locals speak English quite well, therefore, it is not required for you to translate documents or materials into any of the African languages.
South Africans are quite friendly and open, meaning they often express emotions openly. It is a quite common situation when your business partner slaps you on the shoulder, shakes your hand tight, or even holds your hand as a gesture of trust and friendship.
It is considered polite to offer small gifts to your partners. If you are invited to a house for dinner, do not forget to bring some gift: a box of chocolate, wine, or something similar – it is considered a good gesture and it shows respect for the hosts.
Always show respect to elders, even in situations when they are not actually a part of the company. Elders are widely respected and usually considered to be extremely wise and experienced; those who disrespect elders openly are often end up being classified as undesirable business partners.
Speaking of table etiquette and cutlery, the knife should always be kept in the right hand and the fork in left — never switch hands and never wave your hands around while holding cutlery. It is also considered a minor insult to leave food uneaten – so it is advised to plan prior to ordering dishes. Smoking is generally accepted, but only after all the guests has finished their food. Never chat or talk with waiters during the meal.
It is generally considered impolite to point your finger at anyone, also the V for victory gesture is considered offensive. Remember not have a dialogue while having hands in your pockets.
Major industries in the country are tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export. The Industrial Production growth rate of Barbados is -3.2%.9.7% of population in the country are unemployed. The total number of unemployed people in Barbados is 27,780. Barbados produces 1,002 GW/h of electricity each year. Barbados emits 5.6 metric tons per capita of CO₂. On average, you would pay 1.81 USD for one liter of gasoline in Barbados. One liter of diesel would cost 1.15 USD.
Labour The total labor force of Barbados is 152,930 people, wherein 10% are working in agriculture, 15% are working in industry, and 75% are employed in services. People in Barbados speak the English language.
Every year over USD 1 trillion is distributed worldwide in the form of foreign direct investment. Investments by foreign investors and entrepreneurs are of significant value to the country and are seen as a sign of a healthy economic, political and legal environment. When it comes to investing your money, some countries are just better than others. It depends on numerous factors such as the country's overall economy and growth prospects, political stability, taxation and the overall legal system, the complexity of starting a business, opening an account and the workforce.
In this article, we summarize three jurisdictions in terms of benefits and other features crucial to foreign investors. These countries have already proven their ability to attract multinationals and other investments, but when it comes to choosing the right place to invest, each country is different and might be better than others in one or more factors.
Singapore The first country to be analyzed is Singapore, which ranks 2nd among the best countries for investment and 15th among the best countries in the world in the US News Best Countries Ranking developed in cooperation with its international partners .
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a bustling metropolis and home to one of the busiest ports in the world. As one of Asia's four economic tigers, the country has experienced impressive growth in recent years thanks to efficient production and manufacturing processes and innovations in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries. High GDP per capita and low unemployment make Singapore one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Due to its impressive growth and increasing immigration, Singapore attracts the best professionals to its workforce. The country offers cultural diversity and, with four official languages, is an important gateway for international trade. The corporate tax rate is 17%, but it can be lowered by taking advantage of numerous government subsidies, incentives, and other programs. Singapore's legal system is known for its integrity, efficiency and fairness, making the country better than many as a place to start and operate a business. The World Bank Group has recognized Singapore's political and regulatory environment as the most business-friendly in the world. Other factors: Least Corrupt Country in Asia; Best IP protection in Asia; Most popular country for arbitration in Asia.
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates or UAE is listed as the 22nd best country in the world and is not mentioned among the best countries for investment according to the above ranking.
Before the discovery of oil in the mid-20th century, the UAE's economy was mainly based on fishing and the pearling industry. The country experienced rapid growth and general transformation along with the start of oil exports in the 1960s. Today the country's GDP can be compared to that of leading European countries and the World Economic Forum has named the UAE the most competitive place in the Arab world.
When incorporating a company in the United Arab Emirates, foreign investors can choose between offshore or onshore registration, whichever is more suitable for the type of company and the activities planned. Onshore registration means that the investor establishes a business presence on the UAE mainland. Offshore registration usually refers to a business presence in one of the UAE's free trade zones. The UAE does not levy corporate income tax at the federal level. However, most Emirates have some corporate income taxation and can even reach 55% for certain industries. In practice, corporate income tax is mainly levied on gas and oil companies and branches of foreign banks. Other factors: The UAE is among the most liberal places in the Gulf with a legal system that allows freedom of religion; No sales tax or VAT but with plans to introduce it in the future; In addition to traditional banking, Islamic (or Sharia-compliant) banking has seen tremendous growth in recent times.
Hong Kong Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. While Hong Kong is often considered a separate entity from China, it is not a country and therefore appears under the name of China in all lists and rankings. China ranks 26th among the best countries to invest in and 20th among the best countries in general.
Hong Kong's legal system is characterized by strict adherence to principles and the rule of law. It operates a free trade economic system and encourages minimal government intervention in most areas of the economy. This reflects the low number of tariffs and tariffs on traded goods, making it a better place to invest than other parts of China. Foreign investment is attracted by promoting a favorable investment climate with low taxes, few restrictions and additional incentives to encourage investment. The corporate tax rate is 16.5% with the option to waive 75% of the tax. No tax is levied on dividends. Company formation is a simple and quick process. All applications for company formation also include an application for the commercial register. The application can be submitted online and typically takes an hour to process (as opposed to four days if the application is submitted on paper).
The total population of Finland is 5,542,517 people. The people of Finland speak the Swedish and Finnish languages. The linguistic diversity of Finland is vaguely diverse according to a fractionation scale, which is 0.1412 for Finland. The average age is about 43.2 years. Life expectancy in Finland is 81 years. The female fertility rate in Finland is 1.7. About 23% of the Finnish population is obese. Ethnic diversity is nearly uniform according to a fractionation scale, which for Finland is 0.1315. Details of the language, religion, age, gender distribution and advancement of the people of Finland can be found in the sections below, as well as the section on education in the country.
Population In Finland, the population density is 16.2 people per square kilometer (42 per square mile). Based on these statistics, this country is considered sparsely populated. The total population of Finland is 5,542,517 people. Finland has approximately 315,881 foreign immigrants. Immigrants in Finland account for 0.2 percent of the total number of immigrants worldwide. Immigrants in Finland account for 5.4 percent of the total number of immigrants worldwide. The ethnic diversity of Finland is almost uniform according to a fractionation scale based on ethnicity. Ethnic Fractionation (EF) deals with the number, size, socioeconomic distribution, and geographic location of diverse cultural groups, usually within a state or some other demarcated area. Specific cultural characteristics can refer to language, skin color, religion, ethnicity, customs and traditions, history, or other distinctive criteria, alone or in combination. These characteristics are often used for social exclusion and power monopolization. Index of ethnic fractionation in Finland is 0.1315. This means that the people living in Finland come from a narrow group of ethnic groups that are all related to each other. EF is usually measured as 1 minus the Herfindahl concentration index of ethnolinguistic group proportions, which reflects the probability that two randomly drawn individuals from the population belong to different groups. The theoretical maximum of EF of 1 means that each person belongs to a different group. Read Finland's median age and gender distribution statistics at different ages below.
Age The average age is about 43.2 years. The average age for men is 41.2 and the average age for women is 45.
Gender The sex ratio, or the number of males for each female (estimated at birth), is 1.04. It can be further broken down into the following categories: sex ratio below 15 - 1.04; sex ratio from 15 to 64 - 1.02; sex ratio over 64 - 0.69; Overall sex ratio - 0.96. The overall sex ratio differs from the sex ratio estimated at birth. This is because some newborns are included in the sex ratio estimated at birth, but die within the first few weeks of life and are not included in the overall sex ratio.
Religion The majority religion in Finland is Christianity, whose adherents make up 81.6% of all religious believers in the country. Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the largest religion in the world with over 2.4 billion followers known as Christians. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind, whose coming as Christ or Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Besides Christianity, there are several other religions in the country. Other religions in Finland are Islam, Hinduism, folk religions. Finland's religious diversity is diverse according to a fractionation scale based on the number of religions in Finland. The index of religious fractionation in Finland is 0.2531. This score means that within the country there is one major religion and several other minor beliefs.
The logistics performance index of Latvia is 3.4. It indicates satisfactory performance - in general, traffic is handled well, some shortcomings in certain areas are possible, but overall the logistics system is reliable and ready to handle predictable traffic volumes.
Customs performance is rated at 3.22. This indicates satisfactory performance - the customs clearance procedure is generally effective, although a long time can occasionally be a problem; the customs system certainly does not discourage international business activities; required documents and fees are generally publicly available.
The quality of infrastructure in Latvia is rated at 3.03. It indicates satisfactory quality - roads, railways, ports and other facilities are capable of handling significant traffic at all times, and are also suitable for various types of transport vehicles and ships.
International shipping quality is 3.38. It indicates satisfactory performance - the services are reasonable and the prices are not too high and usually correspond exactly to the quality, although there is still room for improvement.
The competence of logistics service providers is rated at 3.21. The providers are competent - they ensure a good quality of their services and almost always maintain this level; Deficiencies, while still possible, are usually minor and do not discourage further use by providers.
Tracking options for shipments are rated at 3.5. It indicates satisfactory performance - the tracking systems provide all the basic information, as well as additional data about shipments; Mostly it also has a well-established cooperation with foreign and international tracking systems and usually offers information in several languages.
Tracking options are rated 4.06. This indicates good performance - shipments almost always arrive within scheduled time frames and often faster than expected.
In Latvia, 100% of the population has access to electricity. Latvia has 42 airports nationwide. There are 359,604 internet hosts in Latvia. The number of road motor vehicles per 1000 inhabitants in Latvia is 826.
Road network The total length of roads in Latvia is 71,300 km (44,313 miles). Of these, 0 km (0 miles) of roads are classified as freeways, dual carriageways, or freeways.
Gas price On average, one liter of petrol costs USD 1.48 in Latvia. A liter of diesel would cost $1.05.