countryaah, South Africa's economy is characterized by extreme
differences between the white population-controlled, mainly
urban-based modern sector and the traditional African
sector. The modern sector was built around the country's
mineral deposits from the late 1800s. The manufacturing
industry developed from the 1920s and has passed commercial
agriculture in importance. With extensive and varied natural
resources, good communications, a well-developed
infrastructure and a sophisticated banking and financial
system, the South African business community has features in
common with high-income countries. The modern economy is
mainly concentrated in four centers: Cape Town, Port
Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria/Johannesburg.
Economic development was particularly rapid during the
1960s, but with the exception of the shorter upswing, a
prolonged recession began in the early 1970s. The underlying
factors were several, including the international oil price
rises, South Africa's isolation as a result of its apartheid
policy, rising costs for maintaining the apartheid system
and the management of Namibia, and declining investment and
increasing capital outflow.
The economic stagnation led to new thinking towards the
end of the 1980s, with liberalization and privatization as a
prominent feature. Economic growth regained momentum after
the end of the apartheid system and the first free elections
in 1994, mainly with the help of foreign investment. During
the late 1990s, the country again experienced an economic
decline. As a result of falling world market prices for
minerals, mainly gold, many mines had to be closed and as a
result unemployment rose sharply. This also affected several
of South Africa's neighboring countries, as many of the
miners dismissed were guest workers. During the 1990s, the
country's economy developed positively and the country
received falling inflation, budget surpluses and financial
stability, but they are still struggling with high
unemployment and the promised privatization has encountered
strong protests. Furthermore, the rapidly growing tourism
industry has become an increasingly important element of the
South Africa is hard hit by the global financial crisis
in 2008 as the country went into recession, but thanks to a
growing manufacturing industry and the boom in the
construction industry ahead of the hosting of the 2010
Soccer World Cup, the country managed to recover fairly
Agriculture is characterized by far-reaching dualism. The
land laws of 1913 and 1936 divided 87 percent of the
country's land, including its best agricultural land, for
white settlement and 13 percent for the African majority.
The laws were reformed in 1991, and the ANC-led government
that took office in 1994 has had comprehensive land reform
as one of the key points of its reconstruction and
development program. However, the reform has encountered
several protests and implementation is slow.
Despite the importance of the mining industry, South
Africa is very much an agricultural country. Changing
topography and varying climate zones enable the cultivation
of virtually all crops, fruits and vegetables, and through
specialization, mechanization and extensive investments, a
competitive agriculture has been developed. However, with
irregular rainfall and in the absence of major rivers and
lakes for irrigation, recurrent dry periods are a difficult
The main crop is maize, which is the staple food of the
African population and is grown on about 40 percent of the
area cultivated. Other important crops are wheat and sugar
cane. Fruits and vegetables are grown throughout the country
for domestic consumption and exports. The winery
concentrated in the Western Cape Province has recently
become a significant export industry. Livestock and sheep
breeding are also important.
After unrestrained logging of South Africa's forests, the
state took over large areas for forest management and
planting of imported conifers during the 1930s. Somewhat
later, private interests began to invest in forestry, mainly
for the cultivation of fast-growing pine, eucalyptus and
acacia. The country has thus become self-sufficient in terms
of the needs of the mining and construction industry, and
since 1985 paper and pulp has been exported.
Although South Africa has one of the richest fishing
waters in the world, the fishing industry is little
developed. Since the mid-1990s, more than 500,000 tonnes
have been caught per year; In 2007, the catch was 680,000
tonnes. About 90 percent of the catch is taken in the
nutrient-rich waters around Cape Town and along the Atlantic
coast, where anchovy, sardine, herring, hake and seaweed
have the greatest commercial value. They are used for
domestic consumption, in the form of fishmeal or as food
fish. Lobsters are also fished here, of which about 75
percent are exported.
South Africa's diverse and extensive mineral resources
put the country's other natural resources in the shade. The
ore is found in a wide belt from the west coast through the
Free State Province to Transvaal, where the most important
mines are concentrated in the Witwatersrand area. South and
east of this belt, South Africa has coal reserves that are
among the world's largest.
In 2010, the mining industry's share of GDP was 9
percent, and in the same year it accounted for just over 2
percent of employment. However, a large part of the labor
force consists of contract workers from neighboring
countries, mainly Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.
South Africa is the world's largest producer of gold, and
the country is estimated to have almost half of the world's
known gold reserves. However, since 1970, when production
exceeded 1,000 tonnes, the richest deposits have been
exhausted, the gold content of the ore has become ever lower
and the deposits have become increasingly expensive to mine.
As a result, production has declined since the late 1990s.
At several gold mines, silver and uranium are extracted as
important by-products. South Africa is the world's leading
producer of light and heavy platinum metals, which, in
addition to gold, coal and diamonds, account for a
significant share of the country's export revenue.
Iron mining developed rapidly in the 1970s, since the
export port of Saldanha Bay was completed. In 2010,
production amounted to 55 million tonnes, of which about 81
per cent goes on exports.
South Africa has more than 70 percent of the world's
known chromium ore reserves, the world's largest manganese
deposits, and about 30 percent of the world's vanadium
reserves. These metals are mainly used in the country's
steel industry but also export. A number of other metals are
mined. This includes copper, lead, tin, zinc and titanium,
but also industrial minerals and rocks such as asbestos,
flux, quartz, granite and marble.
South Africa is the country in Africa that has the
largest electricity consumption. This is despite the fact
that only 70 per cent of the population has access to
electricity. The electricity demand is mainly covered by
coal and hydroelectric power stations, but the country also
has a nuclear power plant. In 2009, the country's coal
production reached 250 million tonnes. A large part of the
production goes to the state-owned electricity company
Eskom, which accounts for over 90 percent of electricity
generation. In 2007, the country was hit by major problems
in the electricity supply and both private individuals and
companies had daily interruptions in the supply. The
following year, the mining industry was forced to stop
production for a few days due to power outages. The event
highlighted the country's shortcomings with too low capacity
and poorly maintained infrastructure.
South Africa imports large quantities of oil to meet its
oil needs. The country's only nuclear power plant was built
in 1976 at Koeberg 30 km north of Cape Town. It has a
capacity of 1,800 MW.
South Africa has a broad industrial base, based on the
country's rich natural resources. Like the economy in
general, the South African industry is characterized by
cartel formation and a high degree of monopolization.
During the 1960s, the industry expanded greatly, and the
sector's contribution to GDP increased by an average of 10
percent per year. The latter half of the 1980s saw a decline
in the industry as a result of international sanctions, low
domestic demand, rising production costs and declining
investments. When the country was opened to the outside
world in the 1990s, the industry was restructured to be able
to act on the international market.
Today's industry is dominated by the automotive industry
(passenger and truck assembly industries) and the steel and
aluminum industries. Many industries have been developed in
connection with the mining industry, such as explosives,
chemical and machinery. Furthermore, there are a large
number of food and textile industries that primarily produce
the domestic market.
Over 50 percent of industrial production is concentrated
in the Gauteng province. Other significant industrial areas
are Cape Town with suburbs, Durban – Pinetown –
Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth – Uitenhage.
Between 1973 and 1994, South Africa's foreign trade was
subject to international restrictions, which posed major
problems for the trade-dependent economy. South Africa's
main export product is gold; the country is the world's
largest gold exporter. Other prominent export products are a
range of base metals and minerals, including iron and steel,
coal, manganese, chromium and titanium. Diamonds and
platinum are also exported.
Except during periods of extreme drought, South Africa is
a net exporter of food, with fruits, vegetables, sugar, wool
and wine as prominent products. South Africa's imports are
dominated by workshop products. Chemical products and oil
are also important import products. The most important
trading partners are Germany, China, the USA and Japan. An
increasing share of South Africa's exports also goes to
other African countries.
Tourism and gastronomy
Tourism is an important and growing part of South
Africa's business community. The country's democratization
has meant a lot to tourism, and especially after the first
free elections in 1994, the number of foreign visitors has
steadily increased. In 2012, the country was visited by just
over 9 million, of which two thirds came from the rest of
Africa and the remainder came mainly from the UK, USA,
Germany and the Netherlands. South Africa's pleasant
climate, beautiful scenery and exciting wildlife make
tourism expected to increase further.
The biggest destinations are the big cities, especially
Cape Town, and the wild and well-equipped nature reserves,
where Kruger National Park is a common destination.
The many peoples, the great distances, the good pastures
and the fertile soil have provided a very varied kitchen.
Maize meal (maize) and stews or pots of
mostly dried meat are the everyday food of those who lived
farthest in the country, but today the many influences flow
together so that Dutch, British, French, Indian, Chinese and
Malay are as indigenous as the original.
The meat - sheep, lamb, ostrich, ox and antelope - must
previously be able to be preserved and transported, and even
today, dishes such as biltong (dried, salted and
spiced meat), stew (meat stew with vegetables
cooked for a very long time) and bobotie (meat
stew) with curry, fruit and rice) on this procedure, as well
as the common sausage (boerwors). Fruit is used in
conjunction with meat, for example in sosaties
(lamb skewers with apricots). Devices with names like
milk teri (vanilla pudding), sweet cookies
(spicy cakes), soutribbetjies (salted sheep ribs)
and greased chicken(chicken in chili sauce) is
reminiscent of Dutch colonization; the many recipes for
pickled and dried fish that remain in the inland are
reminiscent of the knowledge of the Malays in conservation.
The Scots who settled in binnieland (inland)
preserved fruits and berries (mulberries, apricots, figs,
gooseberries, apples, citrus, nectarines), also it is a
living tradition. Along the coasts are fresh fish and
seafood, which are also happy to be served in combination
International, often French, Swedish and Italian,
restaurateurs have established themselves in the larger
cities to scoop out the cornucopia of exquisite ingredients
offered by the country. The South African grant is precisely
the use of fruit in surprisingly European combinations; also
the noticeable widening in the range of meat varieties
(ostrich, antelope) in recent years has been influenced by
South Africa's great success in international gastronomy.