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Joburg as Gateway to Africa

September 20, 2014

Johannesburg – Trent Barcroft and his wife Cathy were headed home from grocery shopping in a Johannesburg suburb when their car was rammed from behind.

Barcroft stepped out and was shot in the stomach.

As he lay on the roadside three men stole the couple’s mobile phones and jewellry.

A few months after the February 2013 assault, he was back at work and still in South Africa’s commercial hub.

“This is the place to be,” said the 56-year-old chief executive officer of Fiat and Chrysler’s South African units who was first posted to the country in 1998.

The US native’s determination to remain reflects the conviction among executives that tapping Africa’s emerging economies demands a presence in South Africa’s biggest city – the crime is just an occupational hazard.

“This is where things arguably happen economically on the continent but certainly in this country and in southern Africa,” said Barcroft.

“If you want to participate you have to be here and if you are here, you are subject to this terrible scourge of crime. There is no way around it.”


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