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See Also
  • South African inventions and firsts. We did it first and you probably didn't realise
    [ click here ]
  • Learn more about Johannesburg
    [ click here ]


left: The New South African Stock Exchange (JSE) building.
The JSE has a history going back to November 1887 when it was started by Benjamin Woollan just after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand.

It now ranks amoung the 10 largest in the world.

See below for more things you need to know about the South African economy and Africa.

The world's biggest
hospital is in South Africa and is known as the Chris Hani -Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The name, Soweto, was derived from SOuth WEstern TOwnship.

South Africa is one of only 12 countries where tap water is safe to drink. Its tap water is rated the third best worldwide.

Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

South Africa is the first country in the World to have voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons capability.

South Africa's population is 46.6 million. Ethnicity/race: black 75.2%, white 13.6%, COloured 8.6%, Indian 2.6% .In entirety, the African continent's population is estimated to be about 700 million.

The Rift Valley in Africa was created by repeated earthquakes over thousands of years, which opened up the ground to form an enormous trench. The trench is so deep and wide that it can be seen from the moon!

Africa is the second largest continent in the Worid and covers an area of 11,700,000 square miles.

Officially, the youngest language in the world is Afrikaans. By the early-20th century Afrikaans had developed from Dutch, French and other influences into a fully fledged language with its own dictionary.

South Africa is a middle income country with a strong emerging economy -the 25th largest in the world -and produces more goods than Portugal, Russia or Singapore. It also has Africa's biggest economy, three times larger than Nigeria or Egypt.

The "ancient world" refers to the time period from 4 million years ago to 500 A.D. Our earliest human ancestors appeared in Africa 2.5 mil- lion years ago.

At Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo, near The Garden Route in the Western Cape, is the Cango Caves, a long sequence of caverns of glitter- ing stalagmites and stalactites, which makes it the longest underground cave sequence in the world.

Fossilized footprints were found at Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, in a sand-dune-turned-rock. The 117,000 year-old fossils are the oldest known footprints of an anatomically modem human.

In the early 1800s, the United States fought the Barbary pirates. The Barbary pirates were from North Africa, the modern nation of Libya.

The world record frog jump is 33 feet 5.5 inches over the course of 3 consecutive leaps, achieved in May 1977 by a South African sharp- nosed frog called Santjie.

Parrots, most famous of all talking birds, rarely acquire a vocabulary of more than twenty words, however Timney Greys and African Greys have been know to carry vocabularies in excess of 100 words.

Hippos have killed more than 400 people in Africa -more than any other wild animal.

Elephant tusks grow throughout an elephant's life and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Among Asian elephants, only the males have tusks. Both sexes of African elephants have tusks.

South Africa has the largest reserves of gold (35%), manganese (80%), chromium (68%), platinum-group metals (56%), vanadium (45%), and alumino-silicates (37%). South Africa also mines deeper than any other country in the world, up to depths of 2.5 miles at the Western Deep Levels Mine.

South Africa has the lowest cost of electricity in the world and the lowest cost of living compared to the worid's major cities.

Birds of Eden, situated just 16km east of Plettenberg Bay, is the largest single dome, free-fight aviary, in the World. Birds of Eden will open to the public the 1st of November 2005 for further details visit www.birdsofeden.co.za
South Africa has the largest hydro-electric
tunnel system in the world at the Orange Fish Rivers Tunnel.

South Africa is the most advanced and productive economy in Africa, with a GDP nearly three times that of Egypt, its nearest competitor on the continent.

South Africa is a middle income, developing country with an abundant supply of natural resources, well developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport services.

South Africa's foreign trade infrastructure is well developed

South Africa's foreign trade sector has performed better than the economy as a whole in the last few years.

South Africa modern infrastructure supports an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region

South Africa is the worlds major manufacturer of stainless steel tank containers for the international trade

South Africa is a major supplier of high- tech platinum catalytic convectors for motor vehicle exhausts to foreign automotive assemblers.

South African civil engineers have built dams and roads and blasted tunnels in South America as well as Africa

South African railway rolling stock has been exported to the Far East

South African electronic control and guidance systems for both civil and military applications are purchased by a number of foreign buyers

South Africa's textile industry has already established itself in world markets with a track record of quality and consistency. The industry is the number one global supplier of nylon sewing thread; supplies 20% of the worlds parachute fabrics and is an acknowledged global supplier of fabrics.

South Africa's top class transport and communications networks support the flow of goods into and out of the country.

South Africa's clearing and forwarding, legal services, engineering and other technical services are sophisticated and widely available.

South Africa's stock exchange ranks among the 10 largest in the world

South Africa's complex industrial sector is also reflected in her exports

South Africa was identified by the US Department of commerce as one of the worlds top ten Big Emerging Markets (BEM's). With this designation the department of commerce has recognised the enormous potential that exists in South Africa for US business. It is expected that by the year 2010 the BEM market share will be larger than that of the EU and Japan combined. Clearly the BEM markets are the commercial investments of the future.

South Africa accounts for approximately 75% of the GDP for the Southern African region and for 45% of the GDP for the entire African continent.

South Africa's economy is a diversified one, with manufacturing contributing 26% of GDP, representing the largest sector of the economy.

South Africa is opening it's market to foreign investment. It has begun to implement tariff reductions in selected industries and to terminate past protective policies. Import duties on capital goods have eliminated. Foreign investors are permitted 100% ownership. Screening of foreign investment usually does not occur.

Moody's Investors Services
On 7 February 2000 Moody's Investor Services, a major international rating agency, announced that it had changed its rating outlook for South Africa's Baa3 country ceiling for foreign currency debt, the Ba1/NP ceilings for foreign currency deposits and the Baa1 domestic currency rating, from stable to positive. The rating is supported by the country's smooth political transition and policy continuity, fiscal numbers which continue to improve, privatisation of state enterprises, transparent monetary and exchange rate policy and the sound and developed banking system. Furthermore, Moody's believes that the new free trade agreement with the European Union represents an opportunity for strengthening trade opportunities. Moody's improved outlook also reflects the prospects for a strong economic recovery over the next several years.

Standard & Poor
On 26 February 2000 Standard & Poor, a major international rating agency, announced that its credit rating on the Republic of South Africa had been improved to investment grade. The rating is supported by South Africa's sound fiscal policies, a relatively manageable external debt burden, an independent central bank committed to low inflation, liquid domestic capital markets, and a robust and well-regulated banking sector.

Templeton Investment Management in January 2000 picked South Africa as its top emerging market

From info supplied by the International Marketing Council of South Africa
28 April 2005 and from the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary brochure

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