Navigating economic resilience amid power struggles and fiscal challenges

B3

SENSITIVE RISK for enterprise

  • Economic risk

  • Business environment risk

  • Political risk

  • Commercial risk

  • Financing risk

  • Economic risk

  • Business environment risk

  • Political risk

  • Commercial risk

  • Financing risk

Updated in January 2024.

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GDP
USD405.9bn (World ranking 38, World Bank 2022)
Population
59.9mn (World ranking 24, World Bank 2022)
Form of state Republic
Head of government Cyril Ramaphosa (President)
Next elections 2024, Legislative
  • Despite challenges such as load shedding, poor infrastructure and modest employment rates, South Africa exhibited positive economic performance in 2023, with declining trends in insolvencies and reduced external vulnerabilities
  • The budget deficit presented a positive surprise, with fiscal consolidation efforts, disciplined salary increases and increased tax collection contributing to stabilization of the government debt ratio at slightly over 70% of GDP
  • South Africa also retains external resilience to shocks, with abundant international reserves covering around six months of imports, a flexible exchange rate and limited external debt in foreign currency
  • The lack of reliable electricity supply poses a significant drag on growth, hindering businesses, industry and households from realizing their full potential
  • Despite fiscal improvements, South Africa ranks poorly in public debt sustainability risk due to a considerable short-term absorption of revenues for debt repayment and elevated sovereign bond yields
  • Disputes among political elites have led to violent uprisings and insurgencies, impacting the institutional framework, state legitimacy and the predictability of government action

Trade structure by destination/origin

(% of total, 2022)

Exports Rank Imports
China 15.3%
1
19.9% China
United States 8.8%
2
7.9% Germany
Germany 7.7%
3
7.0% India
Japan 6.4%
4
6.3% United States
India 5.2%
5
3.7% Saudi Arabia

Trade structure by product

(% of total, 2022)

Exports Rank Imports
Non-ferrous metals 17.9%
1
19.0% Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials
Metalliferous ores and metal scrap 13.8%
2
8.2% Road vehicles
Coal, coke and briquettes 10.0%
3
4.7% Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, n.e.s.
Gold, non-monetary (excluding gold ores and concentrates) 8.2%
4
3.8% Other industrial machinery and parts
Road vehicles 7.9%
5
3.4% Telecommunication and sound recording apparatus
The Allianz Trade Collection Complexity Score provides a simple assessment of how easy it is to collect debt around the world. The 2022 edition covers 49 countries that represent nearly 90% of global GDP and 85% of global trade.
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