Economy, Foreign Trade
Southern African Customs Union, Southern African Development Community, manufactured goods, crude oil, African countries
In 2000 total exports were worth $30 billion and imports $29.7 billion. Gold typically accounts for a quarter of total exports, other minerals an additional 30 percent, manufactured goods about 37 percent, and agriculture and fisheries the remainder. The major non-gold exports were iron and steel, coal, chemicals, pulp and paper, and food products. South Africa is a net exporter of farm products, especially maize, sugar, fruit, vegetables, and wine, but the country experiences substantial variations in production because of recurring drought. Imports consist mainly of machinery and equipment, motor vehicle parts, chemicals, crude oil, clothing, and textiles.
Germany and the United States were the leading suppliers of imported goods, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Chief purchasers of South Africa’s exports are Germany, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Trade with the rest of Africa grew even in the final years of apartheid and has increased considerably since 1994, with South African exports to Africa reaching about $3.5 billion in 1996. Other countries in Africa are the primary destinations for South Africa’s small but growing manufacturing export base.
Two-thirds of South Africa’s exports to Africa are to countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Namibia). In 1994, after restoring normal relations with other African countries, South Africa joined the Southern African Development Community.
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