Perceptions of South Africa and its people can hinder or advance the country's business progress in the rest of Africa. This was one of the insights gained from Brand South Africa fieldwork and other research in Kenya and Nigeria.
Dutch beer company Heineken is eyeing Africa's beer drinkers, and aims to grow its profile by meeting the continent's taste for home brews. Its brewery in Ethiopia produces alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers and is preparing to launch its Harar Beer label internationally.
Buying locally made goods is not just about patriotism; it's about investing in the country, economic growth and job creation. Leslie Sedibe, head of Proudly SA, says every citizen should buy South African goods every time they shop. It is one way they can play their part for the nation.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act gave African businesses preferred access to American markets; Africa's female entrepreneurs quickly took the gap, selling their unique products on an international scale to boost their countries' economies.
Infrastructure matters. If Africa wants to play on the global field, a network of well-constructed, well-maintained roads is crucial. Until recently, work on the Trans-African Highway Network was sporadic, hit by conflict and constrained budgets. But now, nations see the value of the system for growth.
As the economies of Europe and North America wane, Africa is seen as a new centre of demand. This idea drives Australia's five-point Brisbane Action Plan, as it helms the G20 for 2014, to stabilise the world's economy and lift the continent out of poverty.
Up and coming businesses are in the final leg of the selection process for the Medo International Trade Programme, which will take them on a steep learning curve in the United Kingdom. On the trip, they will be exposed to what it takes to be a world-class player in a competitive field.