South Africa/Economy

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Economy - overview: South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of 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 cut into the 30% unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS. At the start of 2000, President Mbeki vowed to promote economic growth and foreign investment by relaxing restrictive labour laws, stepping up the pace of privatization, and cutting unneeded governmental spending. His policies face strong opposition from organized labour.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $296.1 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0.6% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,900 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 35%
services: 60% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.4% highest 10%: 47.3% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.5% (1999 est.)

Labour force: 15 million economically active (1997)

Labour force - by occupation: agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (1999 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $30.5 billion
expenditures: $38 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.6 billion (FY94/95 est.)

Industries: Mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs

Industrial production growth rate: -5% (1998 est.) Electricity - production: 192.015 billion kWh (1998) Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 92.09%
hydro: 0.83%
nuclear: 7.08%
other: 0% (1998) Electricity - consumption: 174.486 billion kWh (1998) Electricity - exports: 4.093 billion kWh (1998) Electricity - imports: 5 million kWh (1998) Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products Exports: $28 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.) Exports - commodities: gold, diamonds, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment Exports - partners: UK, Italy, Japan, US, Germany (1997) Imports: $26 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.) Imports - commodities: machinery, foodstuffs and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments Imports - partners: Germany, US, UK, Japan Debt - external: $25.7 billion (1998 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $676.3 million Currency: 1 rand (R) = 100 cents Exchange rates: Rand (R) per US$1 - 6.12439 (January 2000), 6.10948 (1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796 (1997), 4.29935 (1996), 3.62709 (1995) Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March