SA Inc now worth Us$222bn

The po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment is the coun­try’s big­gest draw­back as its brand value slips two places in a global rank­ing

Financial Mail - - BRAND VALUES - David Fur­longer fur­

The value of “Brand SA” has risen 13% in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped it slid­ing two places down a rank­ing of na­tion brand val­ues.

Brand Fi­nance, a Uk-based global brand valu­a­tion and strat­egy con­sul­tancy, pegs SA’S cur­rent brand value at Us$222bn, up from $196bn in 2016. That puts it in 43rd place, down from 41st.

Lead­ing the field, pre­dictably, is the US, at $21 tril­lion. That’s more than twice the value of sec­ond­placed China’s $10.2 tril­lion.

Na­tion brand val­ues are based on cri­te­ria that in­clude roy­alty rates, GDP, tourism, cost of cap­i­tal, five-year sales fore­casts, in­vest­ment, skills de­vel­op­ment and global im­age.

Given SA’S credit down­grade, slow eco­nomic growth and un­be­com­ing po­lit­i­cal head­lines, it’s per­haps not sur­pris­ing that its 13% year-on-year growth is on the low side among de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. It could be worse. The US’S value has grown only 2% — caused partly by slow­ing GDP but also by neg­a­tive per­cep­tions of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Amer­ica’s im­age in the world is wan­ing,” says Brand Fi­nance. Sabre-rat­tling in the Mid­dle East and Asia, at­tempts to bar mi­grants and refugees, and the breach­ing of in­ter­na­tional cli­mate-change agree­ments have all un­der­mined US global lead­er­ship. “Re­cov­er­ing that in­flu­ence in the fu­ture may be close to im­pos­si­ble.”

China has grown its brand val- ue by 44% and could soon pose a di­rect threat to US dom­i­nance.

The fastest-grow­ing na­tion brand this year is Ice­land. Though small, at $26bn, it is en­joy­ing an un­prece­dented tourism boom be­cause of the TV mega-hit, Game of Thrones, which is largely filmed there. For­eign vis­i­tor numbers grew 40% in 2016 and are up 59% so far this year.

SA has the high­est brand value of any African na­tion. Next best is Nige­ria, four places back, on $191bn. No other African na­tion is val­ued at more than $100bn.

Jeremy Samp­son, di­rec­tor of Brand Fi­nance’s SA sub­sidiary, says: “The po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment is SA’S draw­back. We are seen in an in­creas­ingly neg­a­tive light. Else­where, the burst­ing of the oil bub­ble in re­cent years has done a lot of dam­age to coun­tries like Nige­ria and An­gola. What this rank­ing shows us is that while Asia is grow­ing, Africa is barely on the radar.”

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