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Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa
abbreviation: RSA

 

Capital:

Pretoria (administrative). Population: 1.3 million (2007). Cape Town (legislative). Population: 3.4 million (2007). Bloemfontein (judicial). Population: 400,000 (2006).
 

 

Location:

Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa

 

Area:

1,219,192 sq km (470,693 sq miles).

map of South Africa

Description:
The Republic of South Africa lies at the southern end of the African continent, bounded by the South Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east. It totally encloses the independent kingdom of Lesotho, and shares its northern borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.
v South Africa has three major geographical regions, namely plateau, mountains and the low-lying coastal belt. The vast, high plateau of the interior has sharp escarpments which rise above the plains, or veld. Despite two major river systems, the Limpopo and the Orange, most of the plateau lacks surface water. The mountainous regions that run close to the coastline from the Cape of Good Hope to the Limpopo Valley in the northeast of the country are split into the Drakensberg, Nuweveldberg and Stormberg ranges. The west coast is arid, while the south and southeast coasts are semi-arid, with a narrow belt of low vegetation fringed by sandy beaches and rocky coves. In the subtropical northeast, long sandy beaches are interspersed with lush wetlands and coastal forests.

South Africa is organised into nine provinces. These comprise the Western Cape with its capital Cape Town; the Eastern Cape with its capital Bisho and the major city of Port Elizabeth; the Northern Cape with its capital Kimberley; KwaZulu-Natal with its capital Pietermaritzburg and the major city of Durban; the Free State with its capital Bloemfontein; the North West Province with its capital Mafikeng and the major city of Potchefstroom; Limpopo with its capital Polokwane; Mpumalanga with its capital Nelspruit; and Gauteng with its capital Johannesburg. Northern Cape, in the far northwest of the country, is by far the largest and most sparsely populated province; Gauteng, landlocked in the northeast, is the smallest and most densely populated.
http://www.worldtravelguide.net/country/255/general_information/Africa/South-Africa.html


Population:

49.1 million (2009 estimate).

 

Languages:

11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

 

Climate:
South Africa's climate is generally sunny and pleasant, but there is considerable regional variation: the northwest is very arid, the south is temperate, and the northeast has a more typically tropical climate. Winters (May to August) are generally mild, particularly in the Western Cape; most of the rest of the country receives only a brief cold spell, when snow falls on the mountain ranges and occasionally in lower-lying areas. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August; Johannesburg receives most of its annual rainfall in the summer, between November and March

Economy - overview:
The South African economy dominates the region. Agriculture is strong enough to allow South Africa virtual self-sufficiency in foodstuffs: livestock is reared extensively, and large amounts of sugar, maize and cereals are produced. Wine and fruit are exported in large quantities.

The industrial sector has traditionally been based on mining: it has long been the one of the world's largest producer and exporter of gold, platinum and diamonds, and it also has considerable deposits of coal, chromium, manganese and vanadium.

After decades of inflation running into double figures, the period from 2004 to the onset of the global financial downturn in 2008 were marked by healthy growth matched by inflation of under 5%. Reduced interest rates encouraged greater consumer spending and a construction boom, partly in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup. Unemployment is falling, but remains high, at 21.7% in 2008. Other long-term problems include poverty, a high level of HIV/AIDS infection and inadequacies in the country's infrastructure, particularly the public transport system and electricity supply network.

South Africa is the dominant member of the local Southern African Customs Union, SACU (with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland); it is also a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).

Economy:
The South African economy dominates the region. Agriculture is strong enough to allow South Africa virtual self-sufficiency in foodstuffs: livestock is reared extensively, and large amounts of sugar, maize and cereals are produced. Wine and fruit are exported in large quantities.

The industrial sector has traditionally been based on mining: it has long been the one of the world's largest producer and exporter of gold, platinum and diamonds, and it also has considerable deposits of coal, chromium, manganese and vanadium.

After decades of inflation running into double figures, the period from 2004 to the onset of the global financial downturn in 2008 were marked by healthy growth matched by inflation of under 5%. Reduced interest rates encouraged greater consumer spending and a construction boom, partly in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup. Unemployment is falling, but remains high, at 21.7% in 2008. Other long-term problems include poverty, a high level of HIV/AIDS infection and inadequacies in the country's infrastructure, particularly the public transport system and electricity supply network.

South Africa is the dominant member of the local Southern African Customs Union, SACU (with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland); it is also a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).
 

Industries:

mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs

 

Exports:
Mineral raw materials (gold, diamonds, platinum), agricultural produce, chemical products and machinery.
Main trade partners: Germany, UK, USA, Japan and China.

Imports:
Machinery, plastic products, chemicals, vehicles and food.

Exchange rates:
Rand (ZAR; symbol R) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of R200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of R5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents
http://www.worldtravelguide.net/country/255/money/Africa/South-Africa.html


GDP :
US$506.1 billion (2008 estimate).

 

 

Useful links:

  • Trade Fairs

 

 

 

 

  Copyright By :  Kish Trade Promotion Center  2002