South Africa Economy

Is South Africa a wealthy country?

South Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world.

Economic growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing to an estimated 0.7% in 2017. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality - among the highest in the world - remain a challenge. Official unemployment is roughly 27% of the workforce and runs significantly higher among black youth. Even though the country's modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region, unstable electricity supplies retard growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability but has been plagued with accusations of mismanagement and corruption and faces an increasingly high debt burden.

South Africa's economic policy has focused on controlling inflation while empowering a broader economic base; however, the country faces structural constraints that also limit economic growth, such as skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike action. The government faces growing pressure from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of basic services to low-income areas, increase job growth, and provide university-level education at affordable prices. Political infighting among South Africa’s ruling party and the volatility of the rand risks economic growth. International investors are concerned about the country’s long-term economic stability; in late 2016, most major international credit rating agencies downgraded South Africa’s international debt to junk bond status.

GDP and Growth: South Africa has the second-largest economy in Africa, after Nigeria. The country has faced economic challenges, including slow GDP growth, high unemployment rates, and inequality.

Unemployment: Unemployment in South Africa has been persistently high, particularly affecting the youth. The country faces structural challenges in its labor market.

Mining Sector: South Africa has rich natural resources, and historically, mining has been a significant contributor to its economy. It is a major producer of minerals like gold, platinum, and diamonds.

Agriculture: Agriculture plays a crucial role in South Africa's economy, providing employment and contributing to food production. However, the sector faces challenges such as drought and land reform issues.

Manufacturing: South Africa has a diverse manufacturing sector, producing goods ranging from automobiles to processed food. Manufacturing contributes to economic diversity and job creation.

Financial Services: The financial services sector is well-developed, with Johannesburg being a major financial hub in Africa. The banking and financial industries are key contributors to the economy.

Tourism: South Africa is a popular tourist destination, known for its natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural attractions. The tourism sector has been impacted by global events, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infrastructure Challenges: South Africa faces challenges related to infrastructure, including electricity shortages and aging transport networks. These challenges can impact economic productivity.

Government Debt: South Africa's government debt has been a concern, and fiscal challenges have been exacerbated by the need for increased spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Land Reform and Agriculture Policies: Land reform policies have been a topic of discussion and debate, with efforts to address historical imbalances in land ownership. The impact of these policies on agriculture and the broader economy is closely watched.

COVID-19 Impact: Like many countries, South Africa has faced economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and disruptions to global trade have affected various sectors.

Political Landscape: The political environment in South Africa has implications for economic policies and investor confidence. The country has experienced political changes, and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been in power since the end of apartheid.

Renewable Energy Initiatives: South Africa has made strides in renewable energy, with projects focused on wind and solar power. The government aims to diversify the energy mix and reduce reliance on coal.

Trade Relations: South Africa is an active participant in regional trade agreements, and it has trade relationships with countries worldwide. However, trade imbalances and external factors can impact the trade balance.

South Africa Economy Data

What is the GDP of South Africa?

Currency Name and Code Rand (ZAR)
GDP - Gross Domestic Product (PPP) $680,040,000,000 (USD)
GDP - official exchange rate $317,300,000,000 (USD)
GDP - real growth rate 1.4%
GDP Per Capita $13,400.00 (USD)
GDP by Sector- agriculture 2.4%
GDP by Sector- Industry 30.3%
GDP by Sector- services 67.4%
GDP - composition, by end use household consumption: 59.6%

government consumption: 20%

investment in fixed capital: 22.2%

investment in inventories: -0.6%

exports of goods and services: 31.5%

imports of goods and services: -32.7%
Population Below Poverty Line 50%
Inflation Rate 4.5%
Labor Force 17,320,000
Labor Force By Occupation- agriculture 9%
Labor Force By Occupation- industry 26%
Labor Force By Occupation- services 65%
Unemployment Rate 23.3%
Fiscal Year 1 April - 31 March
Annual Budget $130,100,000,000 (USD)
Budget Surplus or Deficit - percent of GDP -4.8%
Public Debt (% of GDP) 37.7%
Taxes and other revenues - percent of GDP 25%
Major Industries mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs
Industrial Growth Rate 3%
Agriculture Products corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Exchange Rate per US Dollar rand (ZAR)
Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate 8.5%

Labor Force by Occupation- As reported by South Africa

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