While a financial pandemic sweeps over the rest of the world, South Africa set new investment records last year, with its private equity funds growing to R103 billion, or 3.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), compared to the global average of 2.7 percent.

Private investors are taking a chance on South African start-ups, especially in Internet related industries. (Internet access in the country is set to double in the next five years and a recent study found that 80 percent of South African Internet users shop online.) However, investors are finding great opportunities to fund a wide range of start-ups, such as businesses specializing in healthcare, crafts and communications technology. There has also been a movement to invest in “green” businesses, like renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup provided even more business opportunities. The Tourism Enterprise Partnership was established in 2008 to facilitate the World Cup and the growth and development of the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism sector, such as boutique hotels, restaurants, crafters and entertainment facilities.

South Africa also has a growing film industry. With its beautiful landscapes and low production costs - 40 percent less than in Europe and the US; 20 percent less than in Australia - South Africa has been the location of such recent movies as Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio, Lord of War with Nicholas Cage, and Tsotsi, which won an Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2006.

All this makes South Africa a market that many angel investors from all around the world have started to keep a close eye on.