Products: US $527.4 billion (the 2005 estimate) .
The Main imports: Plastic products, machines, chemicals
and also vehicles.
The Main exports: Mineral raw materials (diamonds, gold,
platinum), agricultural produce, machinery, chemical products, electric
appliances and vehicles.
The Main trade partners:
China, Germany, France, Iran, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia,
United Kingdom and United States of America.
The South African economy controls the southern part of the African
continent. Agriculture is strong enough to allow
South Africa virtual self-sufficiency in foodstuffs, livestock is
reared extensively, and maize, sugar and cereals are produced in
large quantities. Specialised products such as wine and fruit are
exported in huge quantities. The industrial sector
has customarily been based on mining.
South Africa has considerable deposits of common minerals
such as coal, but also of valuable metals and ores which are in
high demand but are limited everywhere else except the Russian Federation,
these include chromium, vanadium, manganese and platinum. Its most
valuable minerals, however, are gold and diamonds, of which South
Africa has long been both the world’s biggest producer and
exporter. Gold alone accounts for 1 3rd of the country’s entire
export income. The only key mineral that South Africa has little
of is oil.
Recently, however, the customary dominance of agriculture
and mining has been supplanted by manufacturing
and service industries. Manufacturing industry is concentrated in
metal based industries, generally steel and heavy engineering, with
machinery and transport equipment as the main products. Manufacturing
now accounts for roughly 20 % of total economic output. Some advanced
technological industries have also surfaced in recent years. In
the service sector, both financial services and tourism have expanded
rapidly and both are now foundations of the South African economy.
The Mandela government originally committed itself
to a gradual economic transition through its Reconstruction and
Development Programme, whose main aim was to tackle the gross inequalities
inherited from the apartheid regime. Progress was tempered, however,
by the Government’s insistence on financial restraint. The
Government has since designed a scheme under which major economic
assets, particularly the mines, will be transferred to ‘black
empowerment entities’ over a 10 year period. Inflation in
2005 was 3.1 % and annual growth was 4 %. Few inroads have been
made into the high level of unemployment, officially at 26.2 % in
Possibly the greatest long term problem, especially as regards its
impact on the workforce, is the extremely high level of HIV
/ AIDS infection in South Africa.
South Africa is the prevailing member of the local Southern African
Customs Union (with Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland), it
has also joined the Southern African Development Community and the
Organisation of African Unity.
Suits are generally expected to be worn for
meetings. Appointments are usually necessary and punctuality is
expected. Business cards are largely used.
office hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30
The following associations can offer advice:
South African Chamber of Business (SACOB)
Address: 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Gauteng, South Africa
Telephone: (11) 446 3800.
Website address: www.sacob.co.za
Department of Trade & Industry
Address: Private Bag X84, Pretoria 0001, , South Africa
Telephone: (12) 394 9500.
Website address: www.dti.gov.za
Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI)
Address: PO Box 414, Kloof 3640, South Africa
Telephone: (31) 764 6977.
Website address: www.saaci.co.za
Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Address: 19 Louis Gradner Street, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
Telephone: (21) 402 4300.
Website address: www.capechamber.co.za
There are around 815 conference venues in South Africa. The main
conference venues are in Johannesburg and Pretoria, though facilities
exist in all other major towns, provided mainly by hotels and universities.
The Conference and Incentive Promotions Division of SATOUR exists
to promote South African venues and to ensure high levels of service
and facilities for conference organisers.