The Identification Of Realistic Export Opportunities For The South African Pharmaceutical Industry

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Wilma Viviers
Martie Lubbe
Ermie Steenkamp
Douglas Olivier


Pharmaceutical Products, Healthcare, Export Opportunities, Export Promotion, Decision Support Model (DSM)


South Africa needs to advance its industrialisation process and diversify its exports if it is to enhance its global competitiveness ranking and meaningfully tackle the double scourge of unemployment and poverty.

The pharmaceutical industry makes a significant contribution to the countrys economy, and has a growing international footprint. However, export activity is largely centred on Southern and Eastern Africa, while markets in other parts of the world remain largely untapped. A longstanding concern of the government has been that export market selection has not been conducted in a scientific manner. Added to this is the problem of limited resources on the part of export promotion organisations.

A Decision Support Model (DSM), originally conceived by Cuyvers et al. (1995) and then developed for the South African environment by Viviers, Steenkamp, Rossouw, and Cuyvers (2009, 2010), was used in this study to identify those export opportunities with the greatest potential for the South African pharmaceutical industry. Through a systematic filtering and elimination process, the DSM revealed that there are a large number of export opportunities for South African pharmaceutical products, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Africa. Such information constitutes an important basis for strategic decision making on the part of industry and government stakeholders.


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