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About South Africa

South Africa has a population of 51.77 million people with a variety of cultures, languages and religious beliefs.

The country has nine provinces which vary in size. The smallest is Gauteng which is the most populous and highly urbanised and the largest the Northern Cape which is mainly arid and covers almost a third of the country’s land area. According to Census 2011, females make up just over half the population at 51.3% and males at 48.7%.

The economy of South Africa is the largest in Africa, and accounts for 24% of its GDP. It is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. The country is rich in natural resources and is a leading producer of platinum, gold, chromium and iron. From 2002 to 2008, South Africa grew at an average of 4.5 percent year-on-year, its fastest expansion since the establishment of democracy in 1994. According to official estimates, a quarter of the population is unemployed with a quarter of South Africans living on less than US $1.25 a day. The level of unemployment and inequality are considered by government to be the most salient economic challenges in the country.  The country's economy is reasonably diversified with key economic sectors including mining, agriculture and fisheries, vehicle manufacturing and assembly, food processing, clothing and textiles, telecommunication, energy, financial and business services, real estate, tourism, transportation, and wholesale and retail trade.