South Africa’s key economic sector

A wealth of mineral resources and favourable agricultural conditions have helped grow South Africa’s economy. Here are some of the key sectors that contribute to the country’s gross domestic product:

Mining and minerals –  The sector is critical to the country’s socio-economic development as it contributes significantly to economic activity, job creation and foreign exchange earnings. Last year, mining contributed about 8% to the GDP. South Africa is world-renowned for its mining sector, with an abundance of mineral resources, accounting for a significant proportion of world production and reserves with an estimated worth of R20.3 trillion (US$2.5 trillion).

Financial sector – South Africa’s financial services sector claims dozens of domestic and foreign institutions that provides services such as commercial, retail and merchant banking, mortgage lending, insurance and investment. Many foreign banks and investment institutions have set up operations in South Africa over the past decade. Electronic banking facilities are extensive, with a nationwide network of ATMs and internet banking facilities available.

The manufacturing sector – The sector has accounted for 13% of South Africa’s GDP (as at Q3 2017). For every R1 invested in manufacturing, there is R1.13 of value addition to the South African economy. Manufacturing is dominated by industries such as automotive, chemicals, information and communication technology, electronics, metals, textiles, clothing and footwear. This shows that the country has developed a diversified manufacturing base that has shown the significantly accelerate the country’s growth and development.

Agriculture –  Farming remains vitally important to South Africa’s economy. It is estimated that about 8.5 million people are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their employment and income. The country has well-developed commercial farming and more subsistence-based production in the deep rural areas.

Travel and tourism – South Africa continues to focus on business tourism as an area with significant growth potential. The country is among the top 15 long-haul business events destinations globally and is the premier business events destination in Africa. The sector grips the potential to drive increases in export earnings in a trading environment that is generally less volatile than that of commodity exports.


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