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Globalization and Economics

South Africa - A Rising BRICS Partner

If children learn anything about South Africa in school, more than likely the history books concentrate on the country's long period of apartheid - or segregation that favored the Caucasian minority - and the eventual liberation of her oppressed. We are familiar with Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and other noted activists who fought for their people's freedom, and learning more about the country's economy and political progress helps gain a better understanding of how South Africans live and work.

Once a colony of the vast British kingdom, a condition that fostered the ruling class of the white minority population, South Africa became a Republic in the early 1960s. However, the end of apartheid happened as recently as the 1990s. Despite these changes made for the benefit of human rights, South Africa has experienced challenges in lowering unemployment and decreasing the poverty rate, yet displayed enough of a turnaround to gain admittance into the BRIC group of emerging market nations in 2010.


Cape Town Financial District


Main Exports of South Africa

South Africa is perhaps best known for its abundant diamond mines, and as such diamonds are one of the country's biggest exports. Japan, the United States, and Germany top the list of top trade partners in terms of exports from South Africa, which also include the following:

Precious Metals: South Africa is one of the world's largest producers of platinum, gold, and chromium. The mining industry is perhaps the prime source of labor and employment in the country, and South Africa's major trade partners keep up the high demand for these metals.

Avocados: While agriculture represents a low percentage of the overall industry, South Africa is one of the world's top exporters of this popular fruit.

Citrus and Deciduous Fruit: Among the more plentiful fruits grown in South Africa - grapefruit, tangerines, apples, and grapes.

Wine: Bountiful grape growth has resulted in a healthy business of wine production in the country as well. Vintages include Sauvignon Blanc grown on the Constantia estate and Merlot and Shiraz from the Stellenbosch district.

Wool and Mohair: The United States in particular has invested millions in South Africa's growing textile industry. While the nation is close to providing international traders with a viable alternative to major exporters like China, South Africa does have an impressive corner in the mohair market, as it is a top producer and exporter.


Main Imports to South Africa

Rice: With South Africa's agricultural industry minimal and concentrated on other produce, the country relies upon trade partners in the United States and China for grains like rice.

Vegetables: Vegetables from other countries are also in high demand to maintain optimal nutrition among the nation's people.

Automobiles: South Africa imports passenger cars from top trade partners Germany and the United States, while their domestic automotive industry accounts for ten percent of their overall exports.

Civilian Aircraft: Passenger planes and similar equipment are also popular imports.

Machinery: South African's mining industry requires quality excavation equipment to maintain, therefore this is an import in high demand.


Today we may associate South Africa with their diamond industry and the buzzing vuvzela horns that World Cup fans used in 2010 to cheer their favorite teams, yet as the country continues to grow economically we are certain to know them for much more.


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