South Africa


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 the 16th largest in the world. 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. The global financial crisis reduced commodity prices and world demand. GDP fell nearly 2% in 2009 but has recovered since then, albeit slowly with 2014 growth projected at about 2%. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality - among the highest in the world - remain a challenge. Official unemployment is at nearly 25% of the work force, and runs significantly higher among black youth. Eskom, the state-run power company, has built two new power stations and installed new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability. Construction delays at two additional plants, however, mean South Africa is operating on a razor thin margin; economists judge that growth cannot exceed 3% until those plants come on line. South Africa's economic policy has focused on controlling inflation, however, the country has had significant budget deficits that restrict its ability to deal with pressing economic problems. The current government faces growing pressure from special interest groups to use state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas and to increase job growth.


$595.7 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$584 billion (2012 est.)
$569.5 billion (2011 est.)

GDP- Real Growth Rate

2% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
2.5% (2012 est.)
3.5% (2011 est.)

GDP - Per Capita

$11,500 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$11,400 (2012 est.)
$11,300 (2011 est.)

GDP - Composition By Sector

agriculture: 2.6%
industry: 29%
services: 68.4% (2013 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line

31.3% (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices)

5.8% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
5.7% (2012 est.)

Labor Force

18.54 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33

Labor Force - By Occupation

agriculture: 9%
industry: 26%
services: 65% (2007 est.)

Unemployment Rate

24.9% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173 25.1% (2012 est.)


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

0.9% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154