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Panorama econòmic

Economic indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

South Africa has a highly developed economy and advanced economic infrastructure, making the country the leading African economy and home to around three-quarters of the largest African companies. The national government has been investing in significant policy improvements to restore macroeconomic stability in the country. Even though the government stated that boosting economic growth, cutting unemployment and avoiding downgrades by credit-rating agencies constituted the economic key priorities, South Africa still faces rising public debt, inefficient state-owned enterprises, and spending pressures, which have reduced the country’s global competitiveness. After experiencing a sharp decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African economy bounced back in 2021 (+5% - IMF) driven by exports and household consumption (also thanks to government social transfers and a drawdown of savings, as part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan). Sustained high prices and a strong commodity demand will continue to boost exports and government revenues until mid-2022, with the IMF forecasting a growth of 2.2% this year, before slowing to 1.4% in 2022.

South Africa was recently replaced by Nigeria as Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy, but the country continues to be a regional leader. South Africa's response to the Covid-19 outbreak has been a standout in the region. However, the effects of the crisis are clearly visible. Government debt reached 68.8% of GDP in 2021 and is expected to increase to 72.3% this year and 74.9% in 2023 (IMF). The difficulties of public companies (such as the state-owned power company Eskom) are compounded by the problems of private companies caused by the pandemic. Although the government is investing in aid programmes, the financial situation of the companies represents a risk to public finances. The country's budget deficit declined to 4.8% in 2021, with the IMF forecasting a deficit increase of 5.1% for 2022 and 5.2% in 2023. Headline inflation, driven by rising food costs and record-high fuel prices, reached 4.4% in 2021 and should stabilize around 4.5% this year and the next.

South Africa's unemployment rate increased to 33.5% in 2021 due to the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF estimates that the rate will increase further in 2022 (34.4%) and 2023 (36.2%). Moreover, unemployment rates are much higher among the young population and the black majority of South Africans, further increasing inequality in a country considered one of the most unequal in the world, where nearly half the adult population lives in poverty: according to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity group, approximately 30.4 million people live below the upper-bound poverty line of ZAR 1,268. The group estimates that 13.8 million people live below the food poverty line.

 
GDP Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 387.85335.34e415.32435.21453.60
GDP (constant prices, annual % change) 0.1-6.4e4.61.91.4
GDP per capita (USD) 6,5995,625e6,8617,0827,270
General government balance (in % of GDP) -3.9-5.2e-4.8-5.1-5.2
General government gross debt (in % of GDP) 56.369.4e68.872.374.9
Inflation rate (%) 4.13.3e4.55.74.6
Unemployment rate (% of the labor force) 28.729.2e33.534.436.2
Current Account (billions USD) -10.606.57e11.94-3.76-6.34
Current account (in % of GDP) -2.72.0e2.9-0.9-1.4

Font: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated data

 
Monetary indicators 20162017201820192020
South African Rand (ZAR) - Average annual exchange rate for 1 EUR 15.6515.0215.6416.1818.82

Font: World Bank, 2015

 

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Actualitzacions: September 2022

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