However, Brazil has cheaper and more available manual labour, a better micro economic climate and is more innovative than South Africa.
The report compares 14 countries on a range of measures such as availability and cost of manual labour, availability and cost of finance, macro and micro economic climate, education and innovation and technology.
These countries are: Australia, Canada, Russia, Mexico, China, Poland, Spain, India, Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.
The report makes use of figures from existing global studies such as the World Bank's Doing Business report, the Institute for Management Development's Competitiveness Yearbook and the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Competitiveness Report.
Out of the 14 countries South Africa has the second most sophisticated financial market, just behind Canada and ahead of Australia and Brazil.
South Africa has the second lowest effective business tax rate (business taxes as a percentage of company profits), behind Chile, with businesses in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina being taxed the heaviest.
South Africa is ranked fourth out of 14 countries on the ease of accessing capital, making it easier to access a loan here than in India, Colombia, Brazil, China, Korea, Russia, but more difficult than Australia and Chile.
When it comes to the cost of capital South Africa is ranked fourth out of 13 countries, with financial institutions that are more affordable for local inhabitants than those in Russia, China and Korea, but more expensive than Canada, India, Chile and Australia.
Ranked sixth out of the 14 countries, South Africa's transport infrastructure is better than that of China, India, Mexico, Brazil, Poland but behind that of Korea and Chile.
South Africa is ranked seventh out of the 14 countries with foreign direct investment (FDI) as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008.
South Africa's FDI of over three percent of GDP puts it ahead of Poland, Canada and Brazil, but behind Chile (10 percent) and Australia and Colombia and Russia (over four percent).
However, South Africa fares badly when it comes to the cost and availability of labour.
South Africa is ranked last among 11 of the countries when it comes to the cost and availability of its labour.
In the availability of manual labour South Africa is ranked last out of the 14 countries and is also the only country of the 14 whose labour force shrunk in 2008 (by over three percent compared to
India where the workforce grew by almost three percent).
But when it comes to the cost of manual labour South Africa is ranked fifth out of 11 countries, with its labour priced at about the same level as South Korea, more affordable than Poland, Russia and Mexico, but more expensive than Brazil, India and China.
The report also reveals that South African factory workers (ranked seven out of 11 countries) are better paid than those in Brazil, China, India, Poland and Mexico - but less than those in Korea.
However, when it comes to productivity South African workers are ranked eighth out of 13 countries, more productive than Russia, Colombia, Brazil, China and India, but less productive than Korea, Chile and Mexico.
But South Africa ranks poorly when it comes to education: with only India fairing worse when it comes to the percentage of matriculants in higher education in (2007).
In Brazil 30 percent of matriculants graduate to tertiary institutions, over 50 percent in Chile and over 90 percent in Korea - compared to just 15 percent in South Africa.
This is despite the report ranking South Africa fourth for the percentage of GDP it spends on education (in 2007 this was over four percent) behind Canada, Mexico and Australia.
The report ranks South Africa 11th out of 14 countries when it comes to the country's use of technology and innovation - putting the African country behind Korea as well as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, but ahead of Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.
According to the report it has the seventh most mobile telephones per 100 inhabitants, ahead of Chile, Brazil, Canada, China, India, but behind Argentina, Russia and Poland. - BuaNews