The Economy of South Africa

The Economy of South Africa

South African Economy

Economy - overview: South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that is 17th largest in the world; and modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. Growth was robust from 2004 to 2008 as South Africa reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom, but began to slow in the second half of 2008 due to the global financial crisis' impact on commodity prices and demand. However, unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. At the end of 2007, South Africa began to experience an electricity crisis because state power supplier Eskom suffered supply problems with aged plants, necessitating "load-shedding" cuts to residents and businesses in the major cities. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative but pragmatic, focusing on controlling inflation, maintaining a budget surplus, and using state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas as a means to increase job growth and household income.


GDP - real growth rate: 2.8% (2008 est.) 5.1% (2007 est.) 5.3% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.4% industry: 31.3% services: 65.3% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.4% highest 10%: 44.7% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 65 (2005)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 18.22 million economically active (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 9% industry: 26% services: 65% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate: 21.7% (2008 est.)

Budget: revenues: $83.85 billion expenditures: $83.3 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate: 3.8% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 264 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 241.4 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - exports: 13.77 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports: 11.32 billion kWh (2007)

Oil - production: 199,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 504,900 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 267,700 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 319,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - proved reserves: 15 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 2.9 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 3.1 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 27.16 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products

Exports: $81.47 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment

Exports - partners: US 11.9%, Japan 11.1%, Germany 8%, UK 7.7%, China 6.6%, Netherlands 4.5% (2007)

Imports: $87.3 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs

Imports - partners: Germany 10.9%, China 10%, Spain 8.2%, US 7.2%, Japan 6.1%, UK 4.5%, Saudi Arabia 4.2% (2007)

Debt - external: $39.69 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: rand (ZAR) per US dollar - 7.9576 (2008 est.), 7.05 (2007), 6.7649 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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