South Africa in 2004

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Case Details:

Case Code : ECOA115
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2004
Organization : -
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : South Africa
Industry : -

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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By far the most prosperous country in the African continent, South Africa accounted for 45% of sub-Saharan GDP. The country's living standards had gone up through major government initiatives in areas such as housing construction, drinking water and old age pensions.

Despite all these expenditures, the government had maintained tight fiscal discipline. The budget deficit had been cut from 9.1% of GDP in 1993 to an estimated 2.4% in 20031. The economy had grown at a rate of 2.8% between 1994 and 2002, while the population had increased at a rate of 1.8%.

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Despite the major upheavals following the end of apartheid, the country enjoyed a degree of political and social stability that was rare in Africa. The country had a free press, an independent judiciary and a large middle class.

But South Africa remained a tale of contrasts. The finance minister and central bank governor had high credibility. Foreign direct investment (FDI) was rising. The rand became the world's top performing currency against the dollar in the second half of 2002. At the same time, the dreaded disease, AIDS was a serious concern. Unemployment (official and disguised taken together) was estimated to be as high as 30% according to some estimates. South Africa's income disparities had also increased in recent times...

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1] Information in this paragraph is drawn from, “Africa's Engine,” The Economist, 17th January 2004, pp. 14-15.

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