Top global development groups in South Africa: A primer

Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, at night. South Africa’s private sector is emerging as a key implementing partner for donors around the globe. Photo by: Dallas75 / CC BY-NC-SA

In its long walk to freedom and development, South Africa will soon reach another milestone: It plans to open its own aid agency in the first half of 2012. The move will cement the emerging economy’s status as a regional powerhouse, and help employ thousands engaged in international development work.

Right now, South Africa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees much of the country’s development cooperation, including the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund, which was set up in 2001 to support multilateral and bilateral aid and relief especially on the continent. Other government entities – such as the Council For Gescience, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Eskom Enterprises – also engage in international projects.

Here are some notable South African organizations engaged in relief and development abroad. Many of them focus on infrastructure, finance and governance, and all of them should play an increasing role in the continent’s development as the South African Development Partnership Agency gets underway.

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ECIAfrica Consulting

ECIAfrica, formerly Ebony Consulting International, is a partly owned subsidiary of DAI, the Washington-based consultancy. ECIAfrica has completed more than 300 short- and long-term assignments in 18 African countries for a variety of clients, including public, private and nonprofit institutions such as the World Bank Group, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.K. Department for International Development, Edcon, Lonmin and government organizations in southern Africa.

EcoAfrica Environmental Consultants

Established in 1988, EcoAfrica Environmental Consultants consists of independently registered companies in southern and eastern Africa. The group works with governments, NGOs, the private sector and communities on integrated planning, natural resource management, sustainable development, information sharing and heritage issues, using integrated technology and tools like information and communication technology and geographic information system.

Health Partners Southern Africa

The group became a subsidiary of U.K.-based Health Partners International in 2010. It aims to strengthen the public health sector, particularly in southern Africa, by helping to implement health care reform and working on issues such as capacity building, human resources, strategic planning and management.

Khulisa Management Services

Khulisa is a research, monitoring and evaluation firm based in Johannesburg with clients and donors in the public and private sectors across the continent. Its focus is on education, public health and social development, although it also works on private sector development, child labor and a range of other issues.

Khuthele Projects

Khuthele Projects was launched 1998 by the national minister of transport and the premiers of the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Khuthele focuses on transportation, business and development services provided by a multi-disciplinary consulting team, including experienced engineers, transport economists, and town and regional planners.

Pegasys Strategy and Development

PEGASYS was founded in 1999 to support southern African public sector institutions develop, restructure and manage public assets. Since then, PEGASYS has grown into a specialist consulting group specializing in multidisciplinary solutions in management and development, particularly in the water resource and public infrastructure sectors.


Perago originated from the world of central banking. Founded in 1999, the group focuses on financial infrastructure with a collaborative approach which, it says, is ideally suited to multi-stakeholder initiatives such as banking industry transformation and regional programs.

Works and construction

Service providers

Goods suppliers

Investment and finance

Universities and think tanks

Did we forget any major development organizations in South Africa? Please let us know by leaving a comment below! And check out South Africa’s top development NGOs as well as top development foundations.

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About the author

  • Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.