Just The Facts

South Africa: Between Growth and Chaos

A stalled economy, a growing population and the ruling ANC still faltering.

Credit: michaeljung Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • South Africa does have the second-largest economy in all of sub-Saharan Africa – at $723.5 billion.
  • South Africa’s growing population is about 6 million people smaller than 23rd-ranked Italy’s 60 million people.
  • South Africa is the only African nation that is part of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries.

1. South Africa is the only African nation that is part of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries, but it is not the second most populous African country.

2. While the group does not encompass the 20 largest economies in the world, South Africa’s economy does make it into the top 30 by size.

3. South Africa’s 54 million people give it the fifth-largest population in Africa – and the 24th largest population worldwide.

4. South Africa’s population is slightly larger than Tanzania, Africa’s sixth-largest. Back in 1950, at the start of Apartheid, South Africa’s population was about a quarter of its current size.

5. South Africa’s growing population is about 6 million people smaller than 23rd-ranked Italy’s 60 million people. Italy’s population growth has slowed to a standstill.

6. South Africa does have the second-largest economy in all of sub-Saharan Africa – at $723.5 billion (in purchasing-power-adjusted terms). On the African continent as a whole, Egypt ranks ahead of it as the second-largest economy.

7. The African National Congress (ANC) has governed the country since 1994, when the first national elections were held after Apartheid. It has long represented the country’s previously suppressed black majority.

8. However, after more than 20 years in power, the ANC is beginning to lose the confidence of South Africa’s black population.

9. Voters are troubled by stagnating economic growth and a growing divide between politically connected black South Africans and the rest of the population.

10. Endemic corruption within the ruling party, including by the country’s current President Jacob Zuma, does not help.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, United Nations Population Division 2015 Revision, World Bank, BBC, ENCA

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