Economic Trivia

South Africa has the largest economy in Africa.

Trade Source: United Nations Comtrade
Note: Top 3 trade partners are calculated by imports + exports.

Top 3 Trade Partners (2019): China, Germany, and United States
Top 3 Exported Goods (2019): Precious Stones & Metals, Ores, and Motor Vehicles & Parts

Top Industries Source: CIA World Factbook

Mining (Platinum, Gold, Chromium); Automobile Assembly; Metalworking; Machinery

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [1]

GDP, PPP (current international) $717,389,390,966 (2020)
GDP Growth Rate (annual %) -6.96% (2020)
GDP Per Capita, PPP (current international) $12,096 (2020)
Click on a row to display its 5-year graph on the right.

GDP Country Rank 32/197 (2020)

GDP Composition %

Note: GDP composition percentage may exceed 100. Manufacturing is included in the Industry figures and is also reported separately because it plays a critical role in many economies.

Economic Indicators [1]

Inflation, consumer prices (annual %) 3.224% (2020)
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) $187,667,342,218 (2019)
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits) 29.2% (2019)
Real Interest Rate (5 year average %) 2.301% (2020)
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP) 11.527% (2020)
Current Account Balance (BoP, current US$) $6,711,132,847 (2020)
Click on a row to display its 5-year graph on the right.

Labor and Employment [1]

Labor Force, Total 21,742,744 (2020)
Employment in Agriculture (% of total employment) 4.989% (2020)
Employment in Industry (% of total employment) 22.72% (2020)
Employment in Services (% of total employment) 72.292% (2020)
Unemployment Rate 28.74% (2020)
Click on a row to display its 5-year graph on the right.

Trade [1]

Imports of goods and services (current US$) $77,082,639,651 (2020)
Exports of goods and services (current US$) $91,986,953,282 (2020)
Total Merchandise Trade (% of GDP) 56.271% (2020)
FDI, net inflows (BoP, current US$) $5,116,098,443 (2019)
Commercial Service Exports (current US$) $7,242,800,424 (2020)
Click on a row to display its 5-year graph on the right.

Economic Snapshot [1]

Note: Percentile ranks are calculated using the latest available data for all countries within the last 5 years.

How to interpret the graph: The purpose of this graph is to take a snapshot of a country’s economy in comparison to other economies. For example, South Africa’s Exports rank is higher than (please wait...) of the countries in the dataset. For Exports, FDI and GDP measures, a higher rank (closer to 100%) indicates a stronger economy. Conversely, for Unemployment and Inflation, a lower rank (closer to 0%) indicates a stronger economy.

Due to unavailable data the following indicators have been omitted:
  • Exports
  • FDI, net inflows
  • GDP Growth Rate
  • GDP Per Capita
  • Inflation
  • Unemployment


  1. The World Bank