Modern humans have lived at the southern tip of Africa for more than 100 000 years and their ancestors for some 3,3 million years. The first European settlement in southern Africa was established by the Dutch East India Company in Table Bay (Cape Town) in 1652. Created to supply passing ships with fresh produce, the colony grew rapidly as Dutch farmers settled to grow crops.


South Africa’s democracy is a product of the blood and tears of millions of people – some celebrated, some not, some organisations recognised, others fading into obscurity. And because of the nature of our citizens, the character of our democracy is multifaceted.


Our rich, deep, and varied cultures and complex history combine to create a rich tapestry of human experience. The country’s liberation from Apartheid and the construction of a multi-racial democratic dispensation is a touchstone for universal aspirations of peace, freedom, equality and dignity.


From stunning coastlines, dramatic mountainscapes, untamed bushveld and beautiful semi-deserts, to lakes, waterfalls, forests and wide plains, South Africa is undeniably one of the most beautiful countries in the world and caters to the needs of many.


An ideal destination for travel and business, Sandton, Johannesburg has been named the richest square mile in Africa as a noteworthy hub of economy activity, while Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, ranks amongst the most beautiful in the world. Favourable climate conditions offer warm, sunny days and cool nights, while rainfall is often influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.


South Africa’s surface area covers 1,221,037 square kilometres (471,445 square miles). The country shares common boundaries with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland, while the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho is landlocked by South African territory in the south-east.


For 2022, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) estimated the mid-year population at 60, 6 million. Approximately 51,1% (approximately 30 million) of the population is female and about 28,07% of the population is aged younger than 15 years (17,01 million) and approximately 9,2% (5,59 million) is 60 years or older.


Considered to be among the most multilingual countries in the world and among the most multi-ethnic in Africa, South Africa has 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Zulu, Tswana, Swati, Sotho, Southern Sotho, Venda and Tsonga.


Often referred to as the Rainbow Nation owing to its strong sense of diversity, South Africa’s culture is also considered a valuable economic asset, with many South African artists having gaining global recognition and contributing to South Africa’s export earnings.


South Africa defines itself as an investment-friendly environment and has piqued interest with global investors through increasing engagement and networking. As one of the most open economies in the world (exports and imports collectively represented approximately 51% of GDP in 2020), and with preferential access to numerous global markets, South Africa’s investment drive aims to improve confidence in the country’s economy and achieve balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth.


With developed first-world economic infrastructure and a growing emerging market, South Africa’s investment potential lies in its diversity of sectors and industries, South Africa is also a major trading nation, exporting and importing billions worth of goods globally every year.


South Africa remains an investment destination of choice for many global corporates, with more than 180 Fortune Global 500 companies having a footprint in the country.


South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation due to its immense cultural diversity. Culture is also a valuable economic asset, with many South African artists having become internationally successful and contributing to South Africa’s export earnings.

The South African Cultural Observatory is a national research project of the Departments of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), which undertook an Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) in South Africa 2020. The results show that:


The direct impact of the CCIs in 2018 was R74.39 billion, which accounts for 1.7% of South Africa’s GDP, including the indirect and induced impacts as wells; the CCIs generated a GDP value of R241.8 billion in 2018, which represents about 5.2% of the national GDP (Gross value added at basic prices) of South Africa, because of their strong linkage (multiplier) effects, 69% of the CCI’s GDP impact was generated in other non-CCI sectors in the rest of the economy.


South Africa is one of the most sophisticated, diverse and promising emerging markets in the world. Strategically located at the tip of the African continent, South Africa is a key investment location, both for the commercial opportunities within its borders and the potential it offers. It is the principal manufacturing hub and a leading service destination on the continent. South Africa also boasts the largest air and seaports, as well as logistics networks in Africa.
An emerging market with a growing middle class and an affluent population, South Africa has a great deal of business opportunities.


Quick Facts:

  • Size of the economy: $419bn
  • The South African rand (ZAR) is the currency of South Africa
  • The Global Innovation Index ranks South Africa second in innovation in Africa
  • The Global Soft Power Index ranks South Africa 34th out of 120 countries
  • The Global Opportunity Index ranks South Africa ranks 50thth out of 145 countries
  • The International Property Rights Index South Africa ranks 48thth out of 129 countries
  • South Africa is the world’s leading producer of platinum group metals, the sixth-largest producer of gold, with more than 100 listed mining companies operational in the country.


South Africa is geopolitically distinctive and possesses natural and cultural diversity that supports a globally compelling tourism proposition. Surrounded by two oceans – Atlantic and Indian – South Africa occupies only about 2% of the world’s land area while hosting an impressive 10% of the world’s plants, 7% of the reptiles, birds, and mammals, and 15% of coastal marine species. Let us not forget around 850 species of birds and 300 species of mammals occurring across our landscape.


With an outstanding ecological richness with nine distinct biomes within the country’s borders. These are showcased within five world heritage sites, twenty-two national parks, and hundreds of game and nature reserves.


South Africa’s heritage sites:

Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa (Cradle of Humankind)
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
Robben Island
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Vredefort Dome
uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Khomani Cultural Landscape


One of South Africa’s unique offerings is our hearty hospitality and of course, our hearty meals. This is, without a doubt, one of the reasons South Africa is home to world-renowned chef’s, culinary excellence and the finest wine in the world.


It has been said that South Africa is a melting pot of cultures, which is evident in the vast culinary experiences. South Africa’s cuisine is a unique fusion of various external cultural influences, including Dutch, French, Malaysian and Indian flavours. Everything from Pap and Mogodu, to traditional Cape Malay Roti. Tourists visiting South Africa for the first time are always captured, hook, line and sinker.


South Africa is among a few countries that have participated in World Cups of all three major and arguably most popular sports – cricket, football and rugby.


South Africa has also hosted a number of international sports meetings such as the 1996 African Cup of Nations, 2003 Cricket World Cup, the 2007 World Twenty20 Championship, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, making it the first African country to ever host the FIFA World Cup. Our sportsmen and women have proven countless times why we are retain World Champion status in green, gold and white.
It’s all systems go as South Africa prepares to host the 2023 Netball World Cup.