macrohistory & world report

Republic of South Africa

Map of South Africa

South Africa (capital Pretoria) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: 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... Unemployment, poverty, and inequality – among the highest in the world – remain a challenge."

Michael Sokolove: "South Africa is a place that apartheid is over, but there's a terrible chasm between rich and poor, income inequality. And people with money, people with houses tend to live behind walls, behind barbed wire, behind gates with guns." (News Hour, Feb 14, 2013)

Of pregnant women in 2005, 31% were found to be HIV infected, and the infection rate among adults was estimated at 20 percent.

Real growth rate:
2013: 2.0%
2012: 2.6%
2011: 3.1%

The official unemployment rate
2013: 24.9%
2012: 24.4%
2011: 24.9%
2010: 23.3%

South Africa produces corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool and dairy products. It is the world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium. It has industries such as automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer and commercial ship repair. All this wealth production is accompanied as of October 2014 by the second greatest division in wealth as measure by the World Factbook's GINI Index – second to Lesotho.

In addition to well developed commercial agriculture, in some rural areas people are surviving on subsistence agriculture.

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 1.7%


Living in an urban area:
2010: 62% (2010)

2001 census: black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5%

2001 census: Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1%

2011: males 93.95, females 92.2%
2003: males 87 percent, females 85.7 percent

Murders per capita (2012)
Ranked 11th by Wikipedia. Honduras is 1st.


Almost twice as large as Texas, 12 percent of which is arable land. Mostly semi-arid.


Multi-party democracy. Capital: Pretoria

The World Factbook

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