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South Africa - Country Profile

South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world; and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to lower South Africa's high unemployment rate; and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative, but pragmatic, focusing on targeting inflation and liberalizing trade as means to increase job growth and household income.

Economic Statistics
Exports : $41.97 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Commodities :
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment (1998 est.)
US 10.2%, UK 9.2%, Japan 9%, Germany 7.1%, Netherlands 4% (2004)
Imports $39.42 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Commodities :
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs (2000 est.)
Partners :
Germany 14.2%, US 8.5%, China 7.5%, Japan 6.9%, UK 6.9%, France 6%, Saudi Arabia 5.6%, Iran 5% (2004)