Since re-emerging on the international scene in the early nineties, South Africa has become an increasingly influential economic power. As the economic powerhouse of Africa, the country is at the vanguard of a rapidly changing international economy. As new economic hubs such as India and China continue to rival the traditional western centres, Africa has become an increasingly influential player.
South Africa has long been an important cog in the international economy, largely due to its rich store of economic resources. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of gold, and is also a primary producer of silver, platinum and diamonds. Johannesburg is the country’s largest city and the wealthiest city on the continent.
Home to large international corporations such as Africa’s largest broadcaster Multichoice, and the telecommunications giants MtN, Cell C and Vodacom. South Africa is classified by the World Bank as an upper middle income economy, one of only four African countries in this category – the others being Gabon, Botswana and Mauritius.
South Africa’s economy is relatively diversified – in recent decades it has shifted from a primary and secondary economy to a predominantly tertiary economy. The agriculture and mining sectors are still influential, but telecommunications, financial services, transport, tourism, real estate and trade are increasingly important.
Like much of the rest of the world South Africa’s economy was hard hit by the recent globaleconomic depression. Economic recovery has been steady and growth rate is projected at 3.5% per annum.
Economic division in South Africa is vast. Recent reports have estimated that it has overtaken Brazil as the country where the disparity between rich and poor is most explicit. The unemployment rate stands at 25%, and the GDP per capita in 2011 was $8, 078, ranking 71st in the world. Around 35% of South Africans live below the poverty line. However, the South African economy is ranked 29th in the world, and it continues to grow. South Africa is a member of BRICS, an international organisation comprising the worlds most influential developing economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China, and is also a member of the recently expanded G20, a collective of the world’s most powerful countries.
South Africa is a young democracy and is blighted by many problems, including vast poverty. Yet it is also one of the worlds most robust and influential developing nations. Africa is home to 12 of the world’s fastest economies economies, and South Africa is the hub of this exciting new frontier. It is a country that needs investment, but one that promises great reward.
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