The modern period of South African history begins with the formal end of apartheid in 1994 and the formation of a democratic government, which today is a full member of the global community. In these 23 years, the country has gone through a difficult path of socio-political transformation and socio-economic development, Analytical Center experts say in their new bulletin on the current trends in the global economy "RSA: Achievements and Development Problems".
According to the experts, South Africa remains the most economically developed state in Africa, which, in many respects, is a model for other countries south of the Sahara. In 2017, the country's GDP (PPP) per capita was USD 12 thousand (with an average of USD 3.1 thousand in African countries). South Africa GDP Annual Growth Rate averaged 2.8% in the 21st century. The country holds key positions in the global mining industry, as well as in gold, diamonds, coal, and food exports.
South African social structure is, however, extremely complex and heterogeneous, the experts believe. Rapid population growth (from 41 million in 1994 to 56 million in 2016) poses challenges for the economy, including those with regard to providing jobs for citizens — unemployment exceeds 25%. At the same time, more than a quarter of families live below the poverty line, and the level of inequality, with an estimated Gini coefficient of 0.69 (2014), is one of the highest in the world.
According to the IMF WEO, the growth rate of South African economy was 0.7% in 2017, and will be 1.5–2.0% per year in the next few years – mainly thanks to the recovery of world prices for export commodities. According to the World Bank, the country's exports will grow due to a decrease in other countries' offer and a lower exchange rate of the national currency, supporting the competitiveness of South African goods in overseas markets.
The analysts note that attracting more investment and creating jobs are the main drivers of growth that South African official economic strategy suggests. The goverment believes that the main problems hindering the development of the country are: unemployment, inequality, poverty, poor infrastructure (inhibiting the industry growth as well). According to its new official economic growth strategy, South Africa has identified 2 key directions of economic development. The first one is to deepen the domestic and regional market by means of an increase in employment and income and other measures that can reduce internal inequality. The second is the expansion of sales markets for South African goods through greater focus on exports to other African and fast-growing countries.
For more details see the new bulletin "RAS: Achievements and Development Problems".
Other bulletins on current global economic trends can be found in Publications.