Working Paper
Future-proofing the plastics value chain in Southern Africa

Plastics are ubiquitous across the region and play an important role in multiple industries. Most plastic products are based on a value chain that is grounded in petroleum refining, posing an environmental challenge. Plastic manufacturing in South Africa suffers from the high cost of polymers as inputs. Mozambique is endowed with large natural gas deposits.  

This research assesses the potential for the sustainable development of a plastics value chain in Southern Africa, with the aim of future-proofing the industry against changes in the petroleum space while bolstering growth in plastics manufacture and fostering a more equitable regional distribution of plastics activities.

This study found that there is strong regional value chain potential between South Africa and Mozambique, with Mozambique producing natural gas feedstock and South Africa providing labour, capital, and technology. South African plastic manufacturers could also benefit from better input prices derived from better priced natural gas from Mozambique.