Population 49,3 million (2009)
Surface Area Approximately 1 200 000 sq km (470 000 sq miles)
South Africa represents the success of democracy and globalisation. Although the country only became democratic in the mid-1990s, the concept of migrating peoples was established here many centuries before that. The very first people to inhabit the area were nomadic tribesmen. Then came the indigenous African tribes, who travelled from far north to settle in the southern African region. Lastly, the first European settlers arrived roughly 350 years ago. As you can see, globalisation started a long time ago in South Africa!
The diversity of the country’s cultural heritage is perhaps reflected most closely in its enormous linguistic variety. There are eleven official languages, namely English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, SeSotho, SeTswana, SePedi, Xitsonga, TshiVenda, and SiSwati. Besides these languages, the national motto is in an ancient San dialect. All of these languages and cultures have their own unique place in the country’s social make-up and history.
Economically speaking, South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa, producing the largest GDP on the continent by a long way (Nigeria ranks a distant second, even though the latter country has roughly three times as many people), and a well developed financial and transport infrastructure. The key industries are mining and agriculture, although there is also a manufacturing sector, and one should not ignore the tertiary services that are on offer and that play such an important role in the functioning of the economy.
South Africa is also a country of great natural beauty. Because the country is so big, large sections are uninhabited, and long inter-city journeys can be a feast for the sight-seer, taking in the undulating plains and majestic mountains. Or one can experience the African bush at close range in one of the numerous private and state game reserves.
As a developing and growing economy and nation, South Africa offers investment opportunity to the entrepreneur, and a comfortable lifestyle to new residents. If you are planning on immigrating to South Africa, we would like to wish you every success in your new home.
Money Transfers to and from South Africa - here's how:
- Foreign exchange regulations in South Africa 03-01-2011
- Essential money transfer advice for all transactions 02-01-2011
- Exchange control relaxed in South Africa 28-10-2010