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South Africa 

Economy South Africa 

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 ranks among the 10 largest in the world; and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to lower South Africas high unemployment rate; and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative, but pragmatic, focusing on targeting inflation and liberalizing trade as means to increase job growth and household income.

Population below poverty line:

50% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate:

4.5% (2004 est.)

Labor force:

16.63 million economically active (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

Agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:

26.2% (includes workers no longer looking for employment) (2004 est.)

Public debt:

45.9% of GDP (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:

Corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products


Mining (worlds largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair

Electricity - production:

202.6 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity - consumption:

189.4 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity - exports:

6.95 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity - imports:

7.873 billion kWh (2002)

Oil - production:

196,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - consumption:

460,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

7.84 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - production:

1.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

1.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas reserves:

14.16 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Exports - commodities:

Gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment (1998 est.)

Exports - partners:

US 10.2%, UK 9.2%, Japan 9%, Germany 7.1%, Netherlands 4% (2004)

Imports - commodities:

Machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs (2000 est.)

Imports - partners:

Germany 14.2%, US 8.5%, China 7.5%, Japan 6.9%, UK 6.9%, France 6%, Saudi Arabia 5.6%, Iran 5% (2004)


Rand (ZAR)

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

Rand per US dollar - 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001), 6.9398 (2000)

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March

Information from: The World Fact Book (Central Intelligence Agency)

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