Statistical information South Africa 1990South%20Africa

Map of South Africa | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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South Africa in the World
South Africa in the World


South Africa - Introduction 1990
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Background: After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806 many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). The resulting Union of South Africa operated under a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races.

South Africa - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: 4,973 km total; Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 1,078 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km

Coastline: 2,881 km

Maritime claims: Continental shelf:200 meters or to depth of exploitation;

Climate: mostly semiarid; subtropical along coast; sunny days, cool nights

Terrain: vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain


Natural resources: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Land use

Land use: 10% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 65% meadows and pastures; 3% forest and woodland; 21% other; includes 1% irrigated

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: Walvis Bay is an exclave of South Africa in Namibia; completely surrounds Lesotho; almost completely surrounds Swaziland

South Africa - People 1990
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Population: 39,549,941 (July 1990), growth rate 2.67%; includes the 10 so-called homelands, which are not recognized by the US four independent homelands--Bophuthatswana 2,352,296, growth rate 2.80%; Ciskei 1,025,873, growth rate 2.93%; Transkei 4,367,648, growth rate 4.19%; Venda 665,197, growth rate 3.86% six other homelands--Gazankulu 742,361, growth rate 3.99%; Kangwane 556,009, growth rate 3.64%; KwaNdebele 348,655, growth rate 3.35%; KwaZulu 5,349,247, growth rate 3.62%; Lebowa 2,704,641, growth rate 3.92%; Qwagwa 268,138, growth rate 3.59%

Nationality: noun--South African(s; adjective--South African

Ethnic groups: 73.8% black, 14.3% white, 9.1% Colored, 2.8% Indian

Languages: Afrikaans, English (official; many vernacular languages, including Zulu, Xhosa, North and South Sotho, Tswana

Religions: most whites and Coloreds and roughly 60% of blacks are Christian; roughly 60% of Indians are Hindu, 20% Muslim

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 35 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 52 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 61 years male, 67 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.5 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: almost all white population literate; government estimates 50% of blacks literate

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

South Africa - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of South Africa; abbreviated RSA

Government type: republic

Capital: administrative, Pretoria; legislative, Cape Town; judicial, Bloemfontein

Administrative divisions: 4 provinces; Cape, Natal, Orange Free State, Transvaal; there are 10 homelands not recognized by the US--4 independent (Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, Venda) and 6 other (Gazankulu, Kangwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa)

Dependent areas

Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK)

National holiday: Republic Day, 31 May (1910)

Constitution: 3 September 1984

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 18, but voting rights are racially based

Executive branch: Chief of State and Head of Government--State President Frederik W. DE KLERK (since 13 September 1989)

Legislative branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Medical Services

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: CCC, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IHO, ILZSG, IMF, INTELSAT, ISO, ITU, IWC--International Whaling Commission, IWC--International Wheat Council, Southern African Customs Union, UN, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG (membership rights in IAEA, ICAO, ITU, WHO, WIPO, and WMO suspended or restricted)

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Piet G. J. KOORNHOF; Chancery at 3,051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 232-4,400; there are South African Consulates General in Beverly Hills (California), Chicago, Houston, and New York; US--Ambassador William L. SWING; Embassy at Thibault House, 225 Pretorius Street, Pretoria; telephone p27o (12) 28-4,266; there are US Consulates General in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg

Flag descriptionflag of South%20Africa: actually four flags in one--three miniature flags reproduced in the center of the white band of the former flag of the Netherlands which has three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and blue; the miniature flags are a vertically hanging flag of the old Orange Free State with a horizontal flag of the UK adjoining on the hoist side and a horizontal flag of the old Transvaal Republic adjoining on the other side

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

South Africa - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: Many of the white one-seventh of the South African population enjoy incomes, material comforts, and health and educational standards equal to those of Western Europe. In contrast, most of the remaining population suffers from the poverty patterns of the Third World, including unemployment, lack of job skills, and barriers to movement into higher-paying fields. Inputs and outputs thus do not move smoothly into the most productive employments, and the effectiveness of the market is further lowered by international constraints on dealings with South Africa. The main strength of the economy lies in its rich mineral resources, which provide two-thirds of exports. Average growth of 2% in output in recent years falls far short of the level needed to cut into the high unemployment level.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 6% of GDP and 30% of labor force; diversified agriculture, with emphasis on livestock; products--cattle, poultry, sheep, wool, milk, beef, corn, wheat; sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; self-sufficient in food

Industries: mining (world's largest producer of diamonds, gold, chrome), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemical, fertilizer, foodstuffs

Industrial production growth rate: 5.6% (1988)

Labor force:
11,000,000 economically active; 34%
services, 30% agriculture, 29%
industry and commerce, 7% mining (1985)

Labor force

Unemployment rate: 22% (1988; blacks 25-30%, up to 50% in homelands (1988 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $24.3 billion; expenditures $27.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (FY91)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $21.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.)
Commodities: gold 40%, minerals and metals 23%, food 6%, chemicals 3%
Partners: FRG, Japan, UK, US, other EC, Hong Kong

Imports: $18.5 billion (c.i.f., 1989 est.)
Commodities: machinery 27%, chemicals 11%, vehicles and aircraft 11%, textiles, scientific instruments, base metals
Partners: US, FRG, Japan, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $21.2 billion (1988 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: rand (R) per US$1--2.5555 (January 1990), 2.6166 (1989), 2.2611 (1988), 2.0350 (1987), 2.2685 (1986), 2.1911 (1985)

South Africa - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

South Africa - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

South Africa - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: 5% of GDP, or $4 billion (1989 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

South Africa - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 931 total, 793 usable; 124 with permanent-surface runways; 4 with runways over 3,659 m; 10 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 213 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: 931 km crude oil; 1,748 km refined products; 322 km natural gas




Merchant marine: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 275,684 GRT/273,973 DWT; includes 7 container, 1 vehicle carrier, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker

Ports and terminals

South Africa - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international: South Africa administered Namibia until independence was achieved on 21 March 1990; possible future claim to Walvis Bay by Namibia

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

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