South Africa, with its approximately 53 million inhabitants and an annual income per capita of nearly $7,200 (US), ranks as an upper-middle-income country. The country boasts one of the largest economies in Africa, accounting for 23% of gross domestic product (GDP) for the sub-Saharan region and 60% for southern Africa. South Africa features vast mineral wealth, well-developed financial services, a solid industrial base, reliable legal services and communication networks, and modern albeit insufficient infrastructure. However, to stimulate further growth, the country needs to expand infrastructure and create more jobs.
Persistently high social and economic inequalities plague South Africa, despite significant improvements since ambitious social policies were established in 1994. The unemployment rate remains especially high; structural problems, such as poorly-trained workers and weak real economic growth, stymie job creation. South Africa also faces important environmental and structural challenges.
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