Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Johannesburg – The city of fortunes


In the latest ‘FT view from’ series, supported by HSBC Expat, the Financial Times takes a look at the buzzing South African city of Johannesburg with its 3.5m population. The city was developed in the 1880s for gold miners who flocked to the area in search of their fortune and whilst the gold has dwindled in recent years, Johannesburg still has the allure for people seeking lucrative openings.  

People travel from all across Africa in search of work in Johannesburg. External investors are also flocking to the city because of the secure investment environment, good financial regulation and its position in sub-Saharan Africa’s most affluent country in a continent which continues to see 5%+ GDP growth.

The newest addition to the city is the Gautrain, a train which ferries commuters between Johannesburg airport, the city centre and the political capital Pretoria. Johannesburg has also seen a number of international companies settle there and investment in infrastructure is producing a construction boom. 

The city highlights one of the biggest problems in Africa, inequality. The leafy suburbs of the city with their cafes and restaurants mask a slightly darker side to the city which has a plentiful supply of migrants living in chronic poverty. 

In the 2011 HSBC Expat Survey, 93% of respondents said that upon moving to South Africa they had a larger property and 68% said they now had a swimming pool. South Africa also rated highly for those with children; it was listed as the best expat destination in the world for arranging schooling and ranked number one for integrating in to the community. High important tariffs for consumer goods and lower wages meant that expats main grumble tended to be about having a lower disposable income.

Are you an expat in South Africa? Do you have friends who have lived there? South Africa needs more respondents to be included in the 2012 HSBC Expat Survey. Fill in the survey here.

Expat Explorer returns for another year – bigger and better than before! If you want to have a say in what it’s really like to live abroad and share your expat experiences with others, then click here to fill in the Expat Explorer survey for 2012.

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