South Africa is a colourful country with an equally vibrant and violent history. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is surrounded by both the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. With a large diversity of cultures and languages, two of the eleven official languages recognised in the constitution are of European origin: Afrikaans and English. Although in the public and commercial life English is the predominant language, it is only the fifth most-spoken language in the country.
Their economy is a mixed one, with a high rate or poverty and a low GDP per capita. According to the UN, South Africa is a middle-income country that has an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, energy, legal, communications and transport sectors. Their stock exchange is ranked amongst the world’s top twenty and their modern infrastructure supports an efficient distribution of goods to the major urban centres around the whole region.
Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria/Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth see the majority of advanced development throughout the region. Beyond these four centres of economic activity development is subsidiary. There is also still much poverty despite the government’s efforts to eradicate this. The majority of South Africans are quite poor however recently a few key marginal areas have experienced some rapid growth in terms of their respective economies.
These areas include Mossel Bay to Plettenburg Bay, the Rustenburg area as well as both the Bloemfontein and Nelspruit areas. The Cape West Coast and the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast have also seen such growth.
Despite the high unemployment rates and the effects of Apartheid on black workers’ earning less than white workers from 2004 economic growth picked up quite significantly. After the affirmative action policies were put into place there has been a significant rise in black businesses and economic wealth.
Due to South Africa’s being a popular tourist destination a substantial amount of revenue is raked in due to tourism. With the scenic coastal lines, the vast vineyards and the dense game reserves, the tourism industry in South Africa is booming, with all kinds of travel, accommodation and food businesses doing well. It is these South African tourism businesses that rely quite heavily on travel seasons for a large portion of their revenue.
South Africa also boasts developing agriculture, manufacturing and construction industries and has good export relations with Germany, the US, Japan, China, Spain and the UK. These, as well as a number of other African countries.
With the 2010 World Cup being hosted in South Africa recently the tourism industry, already thriving, saw an exponential boost in the past few months. Expectations are the ripple effects of the large numbers of foreigners having had a memorable time in South Africa during the World Cup will be positive and long-lasting.