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Industries in South Africa

From a predominantly agrarian state to a country with a well diversified economy, South Africa has come a long way. Here’s a primer on the country’s main industries and exports and imports.

Main Industries

Commercial farming and food processing, as well as textiles, are among South Africa’s high growth industries, fed by its abundance of agricultural produce like wheat, corn, sugarcane, citrus and deciduous fruits and other traditional occupations like sheep and dairy farming.

Of course, minerals form the basis of South Africa’s economy. Well known for its reserves of diamonds, gold, platinum, manganese and titanium, mining contributes greatly to the country’s GDP.

With a flourishing metal products and engineering industry (fed from its mining reserves), the manufacturing sector has evolved significantly. Automobile assembly, metalworking, iron and steel, chemicals and fertilizers, specialised areas such as machinery, synthetic fuels and railway rolling stock are also among the country’s major industries.

South Africa’s competent services and construction sectors contribute significantly to its growth.

Imports and exports

In the post-apartheid era, South Africa has shaken off its high tariffs, subsidies and import substitution giving way to a freer economy that promotes competition and private sector investment. The economy depends heavily on foreign trade and more than half of the gross national product (GNP) comes from imports and exports. Currently China, USA and Germany are South Africa’s biggest trade partners, featuring both as top exporters and importers.

Mineral products, precious metals and stones, plastics, chemical products, electrical appliances, vehicles and aircraft, computing machines, base metals and machinery are South Africa’s main exports. South Africa exports chiefly to Germany, USA, Japan, UK, Italy, China and Switzerland as well as to countries within the African continent.
The country mainly imports machines, food, capital goods, chemicals, vehicles, original equipment components, fuel and energy from countries like UK, USA, Saudi Arabia, France and Germany.

South Africa’s strategy of diversification and integrating with the world economy has paid handsome dividends. It produces over one-fifth of Africa’s consumer and industrial goods. The most developed nation on the continent, South Africa is heavily relied upon by its neighbours and fuels the growth of Africa’s economy.

Source: www.southafricaweb.co.za
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