Since July, 1991, when President George Bush ended a five-year ban on new U.S. investments in South Africa, 45 companies have entered or returned to that market, according to the Investor Responsibility Research Center. Some have repurchased affiliates that they had parked with local investors for the period of divestiture. The number of U.S. companies now operating there is 152; in 1986, when the sanctions went into effect, there were 267, according to the center.
Most analysts agree that South Africa cannot make the transition to post-apartheid democracy without such an infusion of outside capital.
"The challenges ahead are more daunting than the ones we've overcome so far," Robinson said. "Before, it didn't matter that 7 million of 22 million blacks were living in self-erected shacks or that the education system was spending five to 10 times less to prepare black students than white ones. Now it does matter. But the money to correct this is not in South Africa."