ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
Perpetuated in an institutional form by the apartheid system, which was gradually abolished only in the early 1990s, the profound socio-economic inequalities cannot question the fact that South Africa has a solid and well-diversified economy, clearly the first on a continental level, thanks to its enormous mineral resources, a flourishing agriculture and animal husbandry and an established industry. But if the state, considered as a whole, presents an undeniably happy situation, in reality within it the contradictions are numerous and increasingly marked. L ‘ apartheid, in fact, created to defend the interests of whites in an agricultural and mining economy, it represented – beyond any ethical consideration – a serious obstacle. The turning point in political orientations on the racial question occurred above all as a consequence of the pressure exerted by the international community: the sanctions and the embargo were decisive. According to hyperrestaurant, with regard to South Africa adopted in the second half of the 1980s by the financial system and international organizations (including above all the European Community), but also by individual States (first of all the United States), measures that have had as the result was divestment processes by foreign companies as well as the launch of austerity and privatization policies by the local government. The priority objectives in the economic field, since the end of apartheid, are to gradually reduce the enormous economic and social inequalities between whites and blacks, also to revitalize the internal market, attract new foreign capital and give new impetus to foreign trade. At the beginning of the 2000s, the South African economy offers a very rich picture, even if poorly distributed and suffering from chronic unemployment (22.9% in 2008) which heavily affects the black population. The primacy of South Africa in the world economy is evidenced by the fact that the country recorded GDP per capita in 2008highest in the continent (US $ 5,693) and a GDP of US $ 277,188 ml. Having restored the public budget with a rigorous financial and fiscal policy, the South African government is now able to reduce income taxes and, at the same time, to increase public spending on investments in infrastructure and services (especially in view of the 2010 World Cup). Only the recent rise in interest rates has reduced the pace of growth of the South African economy; inflation is growing (around 11.5% in 2008).
ECONOMY: TRADE, COMMUNICATIONS AND TOURISM
Exchanges are lively, both internal (many productions are linked to specific areas) and international ones; in urban centers, in particular, the level of consumption is very high. This is especially true for the white community, because Africans are generally too poor to participate in a Western-style economy). As for international trade, despite the considerable development achieved by its industries, South Africa is still a country eminently importer of industrial products (various types of machinery and means of transport, basic products, oil, etc.) and exporter of raw materials (gold first of all, which in certain years supplies 50% of the total value of exports, therefore diamonds and other minerals, livestock and agricultural products). The growth in domestic demand in recent years has led to the importation of goods and services: the trade balance, also for this reason, is in deficit (2006). The country is part of a customs union (SACU) with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland and is a member of the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community). South Africa’s main trading partners are Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China, and it also has relations with some South American countries. § South Africa is also at a much higher level than the other states on the continent with regard to communication routes. The road network is more than satisfactory; develops for approx. 276,000 km (2002), of which approx. 58,000 asphalted, connecting all the main cities of the country; major hubs of communication are the port centers and, in the interior, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Also the railway network, which develops for a total of approx. 20,000 km (2004) and which makes use of constantly renewed material, it is efficient; the main line is the one that from Cape Town leads to the centers of the North-East of the country; from Johannesburg a range of lines touches all the major cities of the central provinces. Where railway communications do not exist, therefore mainly in rural areas, there is a scheduled bus service. There are no inland waterways; on the other hand, maritime connections with foreign countries are guaranteed by a well-organized system of ports: the main ones are Cape Town, in an eccentric position compared to the large production areas of the country, Durban, the outlet of the rich mining and industrial region, Saldanha Bay, eminently engaged in the export of iron ore, Richards Bay, which came into operation in 1976 and mainly operates for the export of coal, it is connected by rail to the coalfields of Witbank, East London and Port Elizabeth, both maritime outlets for products from the Eastern Cape province. Air services are extremely efficient, both international and domestic; main airports are the international ones of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and East London. § Income from tourism is also important. South Africa has notable natural attractions: the coasts, the landscape, the numerous and important national parks, the rich wildlife heritage and the good quality equipment attracted over 7,850,000 tourists in 2006. main airports are the international ones of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and East London. § Income from tourism is also important. South Africa has notable natural attractions: the coasts, the landscape, the numerous and important national parks, the rich wildlife heritage and the good quality equipment attracted over 7,850,000 tourists in 2006. main airports are the international ones of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and East London. § Income from tourism is also important. South Africa has notable natural attractions: the coasts, the landscape, the numerous and important national parks, the rich wildlife heritage and the good quality equipment attracted over 7,850,000 tourists in 2006.