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23 February, 2021updated 30 Oct 2021 05:00

Investing in South Africa: what you need to know

All of the key data and information needed when considering investing in South Africa.

By Carmen

As of 2021, South Africa has a population of 60.5 million, making it the 23rd largest country in the world by this measure. There are 48.7% males and 51.3% females.

There are 17.1 million people employed in South Africa, with an unemployment rate of 33.3% – 6.7 million people.


South Africa is the 39th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $298.8bn. South Africa’s GDP has grown by -18% between 2010 and 2021 and is expected to grow by 29% by 2025.

As of 2021 there are 1.2 million students in tertiary education in South Africa, with 4.9 million students in secondary and 7.3 million in primary education. South Africa spent 6.8% of its GDP on education in 2019.

South Africa ranked 84th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (2020). In the 2019 report it finished 82nd. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2019), South Africa finished 60th, after ranking 60th in 2018.

Public healthcare expenditure totalled $16.3bn and private healthcare expenditure equalled $13.7bn in 2018.

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The largest urban areas in South Africa are Johannesburg (6.1 million people), Cape Town (4.7 million) and Durban (4.2 million).

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