South Africa is a middle-income emerging market. The country has abundant natural resources and well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors. Its stock exchange is among the top twenty in the world.
South Africa's economy has been growing at almost 5 percent a year for the past several years, attaining 32 consecutive quarters of positive growth. Following the global economic recession, this figure was expected to drop in 2008/09, but will accelerate moderately in 2010 and beyond. (Source: SA Government Information.)
The biggest challenges of South African economy remain the pronounced wealth gap between the rich and the poor section of the country, the high rate of unemployment and the shortages in the supply of electricity.
South African economy facts and figures:
- GDP (purchasing power parity): $491 billion (2008 estimate).
- GDP (official exchange rate): $277 billion (2008 estimate).
- GDP per capita: $10,100 (2008 estimate).
- Real GDP growth rate: 3.1 percent
- GDP per capita (2008): $5,684 (2008 estimate).
- GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.3 percent; industry: 33.7 percent; services: 63 percent (2008 estimate).
- Labour force: 17.79 million economically active (2008 estimate).
- Unemployment rate: 22.9% (2008 estimate).
- Population below poverty line: 50% (2000 estimate)
- Household income or consumption by percentage share: The share of the lowest 10 percent is 1.3 percent; the share of the highest 10 percent is 44.7 percent (2000 figures).