Country Profile: South Africa
CapitalPretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Official languagesAfrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Area1, 221, 037 sq km
Population47, 900, 000 (2008 est.)
There are eleven official languages in South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu. However, the three most spoken languages are Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans. Other languages spoken include Fanagalo, Khoe, Lobedu, Nama, Northern Ndebele, Phuthi and San.
South Africa is classified by the UN as a middle-income country, and has a good supply of resources, with a good infrastructure and strong stock exchange. It has a modern economy and is ranked highly in terms of GDP. However, because of income gaps it is still referred to as a developing country.
The country has courted foreign investment by expanding its tourism sector, with game reserves, a diverse ecosystem and interesting culture attracting many visitors each year, and also by widespread privatisation of services and industry, and cutting government spending.
Much of the workforce is employed in the service sector, with the rest split between agriculture and industry. Agricultural produce in South Africa includes wheat, corn, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, poultry, beef, and dairy products. Industries in the country include mining, in particular of gold, platinum and chromium, car assembly, machinery, textiles, chemicals, fertilisers, iron and steel, food processing and ship repair. South Africa's abundance of natural resources include gold, chromium, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, tin, diamonds, platinum, copper, salt and natural gas. Major trading partners include the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
South Africa imports much of its energy, and fossil fuels make up most of their power consumption. However, they also have some hydroelectrical power supplies and around 5% of the country's energy is made by nuclear power, showing an increasing awareness to embrace more sustainable alternatives to damaging fossil fuels.
Science and Technology
Many scientific and technological developments have occurred in South Africa, for example the first human to human heart transplant in 1967. Other scientific advancements include the development of a vaccine against Yellow Fever and of crystallographic electron microscopy techniques. For this, and other advancements in areas of science and technology, several South Africans have received the Nobel Prize.
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