The South Africa in 1998, according to a United Nations estimate, counted 39,357. 000 residents (annual growth rate for the period 1990-98: 23 ‰). The demographic weight of the white minority (5, 2 million in 1995, accounting for 12, 6% of the population) tends to decrease, due to a lower fertility than that of other communities, and due to the end of European immigration in the 1980s. On the other hand, the South Africa has become the destination of strong immigration from neighboring states, due to the better living conditions enjoyed by its residents compared to those of other African countries south of the Sahara: in 1996, out of 5407 immigrants, 2315 came from from Europe (of which 1052 from the United Kingdom), 1020 from Asia, 1549 from the rest of Africa, 257 from the Americas and 86 from Oceania. In the same year there were 9708 emigrants, mostly headed to Europe, Oceania and America (3198, 3035 and 1786 respectively). It is estimated also that in 1995 illegal immigrants were about 8, 5 million.
While persisting strong economic and social inequalities (in the early nineties income exceeded 10. 000 US dollars for the Whites and was reduced to just over 1000 for Blacks), is increasing the percentage of Blacks who access privileges of the ruling class, and the indicators that measure their standard of living (including life expectancy at birth, literacy rate, per capita income) record values that are far higher than those of other southern African countries.
The urbanization rate reaches 50 %, and almost all of the urbanized black population still lives concentrated in the townships (ghetto cities), which actually survive the abolition of the apartheid regime, of which they were one of the most emblematic expressions in the social organization of the territory.
Despite the wealth of natural resources and the high level of development of the industrial apparatus, the economic growth of the South Africa was held back during the 1980s by the imposition of economic sanctions by the international community, as a form of retaliation against the regime. of apartheid. Since 1992, economic sanctions have been gradually eased, following the government’s adoption of a reform program, and were finally lifted in 1993. For South Africa 2017, please check mathgeneral.com.
The GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) program, which is based on a forecast strongly oriented towards social services (education and health, mainly), was launched by the government in July 1996. The lines of this program tended, among other things, to develop the less advanced areas, to vigorously combat tax evasion and to encourage local investments and small businesses, confirming the policy of privatization of public companies (see below: Economic policy and financial).
The primary activities (including forests and those related to fishing) contributed in 1998 to form the 4, 1 % of GDP, occupying 10.7 % of the labor force in 1997 (excluding those homelands already declared independent, but which since 1994 are considered integral parts of the national territory). South Africa is a net exporter of corn (which is also the main subsistence agricultural product), fruit, sugar. Cotton production is steadily increasing, which with 640. 000 q of seeds and 370,000 q of fiber in 1998has found the good level of the seventies. South Africa also continues to distinguish itself as a large breeding country with regard to both cattle (13.8 million head in 1998) and, above all, sheep (30 million head, from which 54,000 t of wool are obtained, in maximum exported part).
The traditional mining (7, 5 % of GDP in 1998 ; 10 % of the workforce in 1995) continue with the exploitation of gold deposits (493,000 kg in 1997) and the diamond (9, 8 million carats in 1995, including industrial diamonds). The South Africa is the richest African country of coal (220 100. 000 t in 1997), largely exported. The manufacturing sector (22.7 % of GDP in 1998 ; 15.0% Of the labor force in 1995) keeps its strengths in activities related to the processing of mineral products (steel: 6 million tonnes of iron and 8, 3 million tonnes of steel in 1997), chemicals and textiles, and it has a very diversified and advanced system.
South Africa is a member of the SACU (South African Customs Union, customs union with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland), which normally records a substantial trade balance thanks to the contribution of gold, about half of the value of exports. He is also a member of the South African Development Community (SADC), an organization aimed at economic integration between twelve southern African countries.