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Since the landing of Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, the economy in South Africa has progressed rapidly. The South Africa of today is a powerful engine for economic growth in southern Africa. The country’s sophisticated physical and financial infrastructure provides the ideal investment platform for entry into the markets of other African countries.

The industrialization of South Africa began with the discovery of gold in 1888 on the Witwatersrand and today the country has a modern well-diversified economy. The main contributing sectors are agriculture, manufacturing, mining, commerce, secondary industries and service industries. Although the mineral wealth contributes only 9 % to the gross domestic product (GDP), it is still the most important asset of the South African economy. Despite earlier political and labour problems, South Africa also has one of the most sophisticated manufacturing industries in Africa. Manufacturing and services together represent some 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP).


  • The Transvaal system contains more than 80 per cent of the world’s manganese reserves, as well as significant amounts of iron ore.
  • Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal have significant coal and anthracite reserves.
  • The Phalaborwa Igneous Complex contains extensive deposits of copper, titanium, phosphate, iron, vermiculite and zirconium.
  • The Northern Cape has significant deposits of zinc ores, as well as copper and lead.
  • Diamonds (kimberlites, alluvial and marine), as well as titanium, iron and zircon are found all over the country. As a result of these mineral riches, South Africa is one of the world’s largest mineral producers. Most of these minerals are mined for the international market.
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