Understanding the Global Trading Environment

Over the course of the last three years, the Trade Forward Southern Africa programme has engaged in multiple initiatives to support economic development in Southern Africa. One such initiative that we are incredibly proud of is the TFSA School of Export. This article will explain a little more about how the TFSA School of Export supports trade from Africa and what we have in store next for the exporter community.
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Trade finance is a broad term used to refer to the financial products used by businesses to facilitate international trade. Trade finance enables exporters and importers to conduct international business, manage cashflow and finance critical tasks, such as product or manufacturing adaptations. Thus, access to trade finance is essential to a country’s participation in international trade. When a country or region has a high demand for trade finance but lacks access to the appropriate financial instruments, a “trade finance gap” exists. In this article, we explore trade finance in Africa.
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International trade refers to all the processes and activities involved in trading goods and services from one country to another. In simple terms, international trade is buying and selling goods and services across borders. However, the motivation for international trade, the mechanisms used to trade international and the impact international trade has on the world are far more complicated. This article will explore why international trade is important and outline why it is essential for Africa.
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Throughout our international marketing and international trade environment articles, we have stressed the significant opportunities facing African exporters. However, several challenges are impacting the growth of exports from Africa, and any new entrant to international trade must be aware of them. This article will outline three distinct challenges facing businesses exporting from Africa.
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Whether you are exporting from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, or Eswatini, you could positively contribute to your country's economic development and prosperity by engaging in International Trade. However, a positive contribution to development requires that you succeed in your international trade objectives.
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The past few years have been tough on South African exporters. The floods in KZN, rolling blackouts courtesy of Eskom, and a turbulent geo-political environment have all presented unique challenges. However, despite these challenges, the TFSA School of Export has continued to see rapidly increasing participation by businesses located in South Africa. There is a willingness by entrepreneurs and business professionals to absorb the knowledge they need to begin exporting from South Africa successfully.
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Our modules on Incoterms®, Trade Finance, Export Administration, Customs and International Law have equipped countless African exporters with the necessary knowledge to succeed. However, we have also identified essential areas that could significantly impact the success of exports from the region—one of which is international marketing for African exporters.
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A common misconception about Africa is that local businesses cannot compete in international trade. However, this perception is the furthest thing from the truth. There are countless examples of African companies that have been highly successful in international trade and continue to expand into new markets. The real question we should be asking is why more African businesses are not engaging in international trade.
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Growing your business globally to break into international trade is difficult and often requires a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money! However, the reward of persevering through the difficulties of selling your products in foreign markets could be life-changing for you, your business and your community. While exporting has challenges, exporters often make life more difficult for themselves by making avoidable mistakes.
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International business is about being as competitive as possible; however, countless exporters do not take advantage of the benefits of various free trade agreements. Free trade agreements are particularly important for small businesses because they involve the removal or reduction of trade barriers such as tariffs, subsidies and embargoes, which makes an SME more competitive in the foreign markets concerned.
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