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Coega Development Corporation
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Chemical Manufacturing


South Africa has a well-established chemicals sector, with revenue in excess of $35.1 billion, making it the biggest chemicals market in Africa. The South African chemicals sector contributes 6% to the GDP and 25% to the manufacturing sector.

The biggest driver in the chemicals sector is the increased demand for specialty and commodity chemicals, such as plastics, paints, and coatings and construction chemicals, as a result of increased consumer spend and the increase in infrastructural budgets. A key challenge is the shortage of skilled engineers, chemists, and artisans, which is slowing further growth in this sector.

Of the 80,000 fuels and pure chemicals types being manufactured globally, South Africa only manufactures 300. The sector is the largest of its kind in Africa and is highly complex and diversified. From a strategic perspective, the sector is segmented into 11 sub-sectors excluding synthetic textile fibres, which is listed under the textile industry. They are, with sectoral production depicted in brackets: Liquid Fuels (31%), Plastic Products (20%), Consumer Formulated Chemicals (5%), Inorganic Chemicals (8%), Primary Polymers and Rubbers (7%), Pharmaceuticals (8%), Rubber Products (5%), Bulk Formulated (5%), Organic Chemicals (6%), Pure Functional and Specialties (5%) and Fine Chemicals.

Plastic Conversion


South Africa has a strong, established sector specialising in the conversion of primary plastics into end products by means of processes such as injection moulding, extrusion, rotomoulding and forming. Plastics manufacturing in South Africa contributed approximately 0.5% to the GDP and 3.2% to the manufacturing sector in 2012.The export value of plastic products in 2012 was R13.1bn compared to an import value of R20.2bn, leading to a trade deficit of R7.1bn.

The industry’s contribution to the economy is nevertheless significant, and also expressive of increasingly innovative connections with  the  green  economy. With increased investment and technological know-how, the plastics industry in South Africa is in principle capable of undergoing a major diversification from basic to more sophisticated products. The DTi’s Industrial Policy

Action Plan (IPAP) of 2014-2016 identified the following key opportunities:

Key areas of opportunity for growing sector include:

•     Automotive interior and exterior products;
•     Food packaging;
•     Medical products;
•     Buildings- pipes, flooring and building sheets;
•     Electrical and electronics cables, appliances and casing components.


The South African pharmaceutical sector at the ex-factory price level was US$ 4.0 billion (R 36 billion) in 2012 – or just 0.4% of the global pharmaceutical market by value. South Africa’s pharmaceutical market and industry are, however, by far the largest in Africa.

The DTi’s Industrial Policy Action Plan of 2014-2016 identified the following key opportunities:

•     Meeting fast-growing public sector demand for pharmaceuticals, especially
      -  anti-TB medicines; and
      -  medicines for non-communicable diseases/ conditions such as diabetes, cancer, circulatory and cardiovascular conditions etc.

•     Manufacturing generic copies of medicines losing patent protection in 2014-2015 for supply into the Aluminium sulphate;
•     Lactose;
•     Polystyrene;
•     Butadiene;
•     PET polymer; and
•     Biodiesel.

To take advantage of chemical project development at Coega, please contact us on:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +27 41 403 0400 / 086 102 6342
Fax: +27 41 403 0401


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