Why South Africa is not a Poor Country

Many reasons why South Africa is not a poor country or cannot be counted among poor African countries in the world have appeared glaring enough. South Africa, judging by its infrastructure and level of social development, is one of the most advanced African countries of today. When compared to other countries in the dark continent, it is not that poor at all.

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. Its biodiversity hotspot, with unique biomes, plant and animal life. With over 60 million people, the country is the world’s 24th-most populous nation and covers an area of 1,221,037 square kilometers (471,445 square miles).

South Africa has three capital cities, with the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government based in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town respectively. The largest city is Johannesburg.

About 80% of the population are Black South Africans. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (White South Africans), Asian (Indian South Africans and Chinese South Africans), and multiracial (Colored South Africans) ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions.

Why South Africa is not a Poor Country

The Economy of South Africa is the third largest in Africa and the most industrialized, technologically advanced, and diversified economy in Africa overall. South Africa is an upper-middle-income economy, one of only eight such countries in Africa.

Having written come contents on some countries that are poor and spoken on the poorest province in South Africa, it is time we discussed the reason or reasons why South Africa is not a poor country after all. Below are the highlights of the points:

The Country’s Farming Business

One of the main reasons why South Africa is not a poor country is because of its farming energy.

South Africa produced 19.3 million tons of sugarcane (14th largest producer in the world), 12.5 million tons of maize (12th largest producer in the world) 1.9 million tons of grape (11th largest producer in the world), 1.7 million tons of orange (11th largest producer in the world) and 397 thousand tons of pear (7th largest producer in the world). In addition, in the same year, it produced 2.4 million tons of potato, 1.8 million tons of wheat, 1.5 million tons of soy, 862 thousand tons of sunflower seed, 829 thousand tons of apple, 726 thousand tons of onion, 537 thousand tons of tomato, 474 thousand tons of lemon, 445 thousand tons of grapefruit, 444 thousand tons of banana, 421 thousand tons of barley, in addition to smaller productions of other agricultural products, such as avocado, pineapple, peach, tangerine, pumpkin, cabbage, carrot, rapeseed, sorghum etc.

The agricultural industry contributes around 5% of formal employment, relatively low compared to other parts of Africa, as well as providing work for casual laborers and contributing around 2.8% of GDP for the nation.

South Africa’s Natural Resources

The country was the world’s largest producer of platinum; the world’s largest producer of chromium; the world’s largest producer of manganese; the 2nd largest world producer of titanium; the world’s 11th largest producer of gold; the 3rd worldwide producer of vanadium; the 6th largest world producer of iron ore; the 11th largest world producer of cobalt; and the 15th largest world producer of phosphate.

It was the world’s 12th largest producer of uranium in 2018.

Mining has been the main driving force behind the history and development of Africa’s most advanced economy. Large-scale and profitable mining started with the discovery of a diamond on the banks of the Orange River in 1867 by Erasmus Jacobs and the subsequent discovery and exploitation of the Kimberley pipes a few years later.

Gold rushes to Pilgrim’s Rest and Barberton were precursors to the biggest discovery of all, the Main Reef/Main Reef Leader on Gerhardus Oosthuizen’s farm Langlaagte, Portion C, in 1886, the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the subsequent rapid development of the goldfield there, the biggest of them all.

South Africa is one of the world’s leading mining and mineral-processing countries.

The Telecommunication Business

The domestic telecommunications infrastructure provides modern and efficient service to urban and rural areas. This includes cellular and internet services from 5G to Gigabit Broadband.

In 1997, Telkom, the South African telecommunications parastatal, was partly privatized and entered into a strategic equity partnership with a consortium of SBC (AT&T), in exchange for a monopoly to provide certain services for 5 years. Telkom assumed an obligation to facilitate network modernization and expansion into the unserved areas. A Second Network Operator, Neotel was to be licensed to compete with Telkom across its spectrum of services in 2002. Licensing officially began in late 2005.

Five mobile-phone companies provide service to over 50 million subscribers, with South Africa considered to have the 4th most advanced mobile telecommunications network worldwide.

Large Commercial Industry

The South African automotive industry accounts for about 10% of South Africa’s manufacturing exports, contributes 7.5% to the country’s GDP and employs around 36,000 people. Annual production in 2007 was 535,000 vehicles, out of a global production of 73 million units in the same year.

Vehicle exports were in the region of 170,000 units in 2007, exported mainly to Japan (about 29% of the value of total exports), Australia (20%), the UK (12%) and the US (11%). South Africa also exported ZAR 30.3 billion worth of auto components in 2006. BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler-Chrysler, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota all have production plants in South Africa. Large component manufacturers with bases in the country are Arvin Exhaust, Bloxwitch, Corning and Senior Flexonics.

There are also about 200 automotive component manufacturers in South Africa, and more than 150 others that supply the industry on a non-exclusive basis. The industry is concentrated in two provinces, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

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