Pulp and paper
South Africa manufactures a wide range of paper products from pulp and chemical processes, and the sector as a whole has a positive trade balance. Raised levels of schooling and literacy have offset the reduction in paper demand from replacement by information technology.
Demand for recyclable substitutes for plastic, such as paper packaging is likely to become stronger as environmental awareness worldwide grows. Apart from this, and import replacement opportunities in local production of more printing and writing paper grades, investment opportunities may lie in beneficiating wood pulp, especially for new products.
Dissolved wood pulp contributes more than 60% of total exports in the sector. Opportunities exist for further beneficiation of this product locally, which could create additional downstream sectors and reduce South Africa’s dependence on imports of, for instance, bio-based packaging.