The Economic Activity of South Africa
South Africa is categorized as a middle-income country based on UN classification. In 2007, its economy ranked 20th in the world with a GDP of almost $467 billion in terms of PPP. The sectors of manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and services are very much developed. The JSE Securities Exchange is in 18th place in the world based on total market capitalization. The cities of Cape Town, Pretoria/Johannesburg, Durban, and Port Elizabeth are the 4 most urbanized areas.
Over the past years the South African government has implemented various strategies to continuously improve the nation’s economy. The Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) policy, initiated in 1996 by then Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, was to achieve at least 6% annual real growth between 1996 and 2000 and the same time producing 400,000 jobs every year.
From 2002-2005, the South African rand (ZAR) was the best-performing currency ahead of the United States based on Bloomberg Currency Scorecard. It has joined a cream of the crop association of 15 currencies known as the Continuous linked settlement (CLS) in which forex trading are settled instantaneously to lower the risks of transacting across time zones.
South Africa is an active member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Aside from other African countries, the following countries are also major trading partners of South Africa: Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, China, United Kingdom, and the United States. The primary goods being exported consist of diamonds, corn, gold, fruits, sugar, metals and minerals, and wool. South Africa remains the world’s biggest producer and exporter of platinum and gold.