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2024 National Elections Vote Out-of Country on 18 May 2024


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Gross domestic product

2022: ZAR 6.64 trillion (USD 405.8 billion at 2022 average exchange rate)


2022 average: 6.9% (February 2023: 7.0%)

Prime lending rate

31 March 2023: 11.25%

External trade

Merchandise exports: 2022: ZAR 2 014.5 billion

Merchandise imports: 2022: ZAR 1 829.9 billion

Exchange rate

2022 average: USD 1.00 = ZAR 16.36- February 2023 average: USD 1.00 = ZAR R17.90


60.6 million

39.8 million people in the working-age category

Young population (62% under the age of 35)

Highly urbanised (67.9% of population in 2020)


Total land area: 1 219 090 km2

Agricultural land: 79.4% of entire land area

Arable land = 9.9%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 69.2%; forest 7.6%

16 700 km2 under irrigation

Mineral resources

Producer of key mining and mineral products (2022):

Platinum group metals: 242 tonnes

Gold: 84 tonnes

Coal: 231.2 million tonnes

Iron ore: 66.3 million tonnes

Manganese: 19 million tonnes

Chrome ore: 19.4 million tonnes

Industrial minerals: 51.3 million tonnes

Diamonds: 10.2 million carats


Total nominal energy generation capacity of 54 million kW (2021/22)

Mainly coal-fired power stations (circa 73% of generation capacity), but deliberate move to diversify energy mix by introducing renewable energy (solar, wind, other)

Ranked among the world’s top 40 markets on the attractiveness of renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities (EY 2022)

Transport and logistics

144 airports with paved runways

Railways: 20 986km

Roads: 747 014km (paved: 158 952km)

8 seaports: Durban; Richards Bay; East London; Ngqura; Port Elizabeth; Mossel Bay; Cape

Town; Saldanha Bay

2 of the world’s top container ports: Durban, Cape Town

2 of the world’s largest dry bulk ports: Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay

Information Technology

Highest number of secure internet servers in Africa

Ranked 3rd in Africa on the Information and Communications Technology Development Index


South Africa’s ZAR 6.64 trillion economy (USD 405.8 billion*) is the 33rd largest** in the world and represents approximately 12% of the African continent’s total gross domestic product (GDP).

The economy is highly diversified from a sectoral perspective and the most developed and technologically advanced economy on the African continent.

South Africa has one of the most open economies in the world (exports and imports of goods and services collectively represented circa 65% of GDP in 2022), with preferential access to numerous global markets.

Fixed investment activity is spread across all broad sectors of the economy, with the financial services, real estate and business services sector claiming large shares on an annual basis.

The private sector accounted for around 73% of overall fixed investment expenditure, on average, over the past 3 years.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have increased substantially since the onset of democracy, with FDI stock representing 44.9% of GDP in 2021, as compared to 6.6% in 1994.

*Based on the average USD/ZAR exchange rate for 2022.

** Based on GDP in 2022, PPP valuations

Source: South Africa: Replete with opportunities for a better world, Compiled by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and InvestSA. March 2023