South Africa is one of the most sophisticated and promising emerging markets, offering a unique combination of highly developed first world economic infrastructure with a vibrant emerging market economy.
It is one of the world’s 26 industrialized nations and the 27th largest economy. As it is regarded as the gateway to Africa, South Africa has the 2nd largest economy on the continent, accounting for about 25 percent of the continent’s GDP.
According to the World Bank, South Africa ranked 41st out of 189 in the world for the Ease of Doing Business in 2014. For instance, the JSE Securities Exchange is Africa’s largest and most developed Securities Exchange and on of the world’s top 20 exchanges.
South Africa remains the world’s top producer of minerals such as gold, platinum, rhodium, chrome, manganese and vanadium and the world’s leader in mining (it is the world’s third largest coal exporter). It has nearly 90% of the platinum metals on earth, 80% of the manganese, 72% of the chrome, 27% of the vanadium, 40% of the gold and 88 % of platinum-group metals (PMGs).
As for mining, the large majority of South African coal exports are shipped through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). With the capacity to export 79.4 mmst annually, RBCT is the world’s largest coal export facility.
According to Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (2013/14), South Africa is:
- The 1st in the strength of auditing and reporting standards
- The 1st in the efficacy of corporate boards
- The 1st in the protection of minority shareholders’ interests
- The 1st in the regulations of securities exchanges
- The 1st in legal rights index
- The 2nd in the availability of financial services
- The 3rd in the soundness of banks
- The 10th in the strength of investor protection
- The 11th in the quality of air transport infrastructure
South Africa is the country with three capitals: Pretoria, the administrative capital (ywith a population of 2.4m), Cape Town, the legislative capital (population of 3.5m) and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital (population of 750,000). In a word, it is the 28th in the world by population and GDP.
The Rainbow Nation
As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu used to coin the famous “the Rainbow Nation” phrase, South Africa is indeed a melting pot of people and cultures. According to the Mid-Year Population Estimates 2013, the country’s population stood at 52 982 000 two years ago.
Gauteng comprises the largest share of South African population. About 12.7 million people (24 percent) live in this province. KwaZulu-Natal has the second largest population, with 10.5 million people (19.7 percent) living there. With a population of about 1.16 million people (2.2 pc) Northern Cape remains the province with the smallest share of the South African population.
The black African population group is in the majority (42.28 percent) and constitutes almost 80 pc of the total South African population. The white population is estimated at 4.60 million, the coloured population at 4.77 million and the Indian/Asian population at 1.33 million.
South Africa is a multilingual country with 11 official languages. Each of them is guaranteed equal status. Most South African are multilingual and able to speak at least two of the official languages.