More than 4,000 of South Africa's HNWIs have left the country in the last ten years according to the latest figures from AfrAsia Bank.
As of December 2019, there are approximately 38,400 dollar millionaires living in the country - down by 800 from the number recorded in 2019. In New World Wealth's previous report, there were 39,200 millionaires recorded, which was down significantly - a loss of 4,400 millionaires - from the year before that.
The latest figures were done for the AfrAsia Bank and the New World Wealth 2020 Global Wealth Migration Review. Published annually since 2018, the report examines recent worldwide migration trends and analyses the potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on wealth migration going forward.
Portugal continues to attract a steady number of HNWIs, fuelled by its popular investor visa programme"
The group said that among inflow destinations, Portugal was highlighted as one country that proved particularly popular for South African millionaires looking to relocate.
"Portugal continues to attract a steady number of HNWIs, fuelled by its popular investor visa program which has attracted large numbers of HNWIs from China, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Russia over the past few years," it said.
The UK, Australia and the US were other popular destinations, alongside Switzerland. However, due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, not many have moved from South Africa so far this year.
Wealth migration figures are a gauge of the health of an economy, said AfrAsia Bank. The group specifically focused on high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with wealth of $1 million or more.
"For instance, if a country is losing a large number of HNWIs to migration, it is probably due to serious problems in that country such as crime, lack of business opportunities etc.
"It can also be a sign of bad things to come as HNWIs are often the first people to leave - they have the means to leave unlike middle-class citizens. If one looks at any major country collapse in history, it is normally preceded by a migration of wealthy people away from that country."
Global citizenship company Henley & Partners has reported a sharp increase in South African enquiries in the third quarter compared to Q1 2020, with a nearly 50% increase in enquiries overall as the pandemic coursed around the globe.