Browse a full set of economic indicators

South Africa

Includes South Africa real Gross Domestic Product growth rate, with latest forecasts and historical data, GDP per capita, GDP composition and breakdown by sector.

Browse additional economic indicators and data sets, selected by Global Finance editors, to learn more about South Africa economic outlook, debt to GDP ratio, international trade performance and population trends. Rankings of South Africa best banks and safest banks are also available.

Advanced Economy, Dysfunctional State

South Africa is one of the most advanced economies in sub-Saharan Africa and the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. Along with being a top exporter of gold, platinum and other mineral resources, the country boasts well-established financial, communications and transport sectors, an advanced infrastructure, and a youthful and skilled labor force.

Challenges include high rates of unemployment, a weak rule of law, and opaque regulations that can discourage private and foreign investment.

South Africa GDP & Economic Overview

Key Facts

Total Area 1,219,090 sq km
Type of Government Constitutional democracy
Capital City Cape Town
Total Population 61.528 million
Median Age 27.6
Total GDP USD 990,030 millions
Adult Per Capita Income (PPP) USD 22,750.49

South Africa

Trade & Finance

International Trade

Total Exports USD 124,929 million
Major Exports Gold
Iron products
Major Trade Partners – Exports United States
United Kingdom
Total Imports USD 172,420 million
Major Imports Broadcasting equipment
Cars and vehicle parts
Crude petroleum
Refined Petroleum
Major Trade Partners – Imports China
United States
Saudi Arabia

Inbound and Outbound Investment

Data Shows South Africa’s Debt Load To Be Among
the Continent’s Heaviest

The chart at left compares South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio to the regional average. It illustrates how the country has fallen behind its peers in debt management.

South Africa's Leading Businesses

Financial services FirstRand
Banking Standard Bank Group
Technology Naspers
Chemicals and energy Sasol
Financial services Absa Group
Telecom MTN Group

Global Finance Rankings & Awards: South Africa

Global Finance Magazine holds several conferences and awards ceremonies throughout the year to recognize the winning financial institutions and companies in a host of categories including World’s Best Trade Finance Banks, World's Biggest Banks, World's Safest Banks, World's Best Developed & Emerging Markets Banks, World's Best Internet Banks, and World’s Best Investment Banks.

Data Sources:

IMF World Economic Outlook

UN World Population Prospects

World Inequality Report

S&P Global Ratings


Fitch Ratings

IMF Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS)

UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

CIA The World Factbook

World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution

Forbes Global 2000