- The Rand (South Africa’s currency) was the best performing currency against the US Dollar between 2002 and 2005 (Bloomberg Currency Scoreboard)
- South Africa has 55,000 high net-wealth individuals holding at least US$1million in financial assets (World Wealth Report 2008)
- South Africa has the 27th biggest economy in the world, with a Gross Domestic Product of US$254 billion (World Bank)
- South Africa accounts for almost 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent, with an economy more than twice the size of the second biggest – Algeria. (World Bank)
- Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province (state) but produces 34% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (Stats SA)
- The JSE Securities Exchange is the 14th largest equities exchange in the world, with a total market capitalisation of some R2.3 trillion (JSE)
- More than 12,000 ‘Black Diamond’ families (South Africa’s new black middle class) -or 50,000 people -are moving from the townships into the suburbs of South Africa’s metro areas every month (UCT Unilever Institute)
- The black middle class grew by 30% in 2005, adding another 421,000 black adults to SA’s middle-income layer and ramping up the black population’s share of SA’s total middle class to almost a third. Between 2001 and 2004, there were 300,000 new black entrants to the middle class (Financial Mail)
- South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity (Eskom)
- South African power supplier provides the fourth cheapest electricity in the world
- Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto is the biggest hospital in the world
- Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.
- There are 39 million cell phone users in South Africa (International Telecommunication Union)
- The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown by 200% since 1994, from 3 million to over 9 million in 2007 (Dept of Environment and Tourism)
- The Singita game reserve was voted the best hotel in the world by the readers of a leading travel magazine (Conde Nast Traveller)
- The world’s best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus in the Western Cape.
- In 2002, South Africa was the world’s fastest growing tourist destination. In 2006, South Africa’s tourism grew at three times the global average.
- South Africa hosts the largest timed cycle race in the world (the Cape Argus Cycle Tour), the world’s oldest and largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon) and the world’s largest open water swimming event (the Midmar Mile).
- South Africa will become the first African country to host the Soccer World Cup in 2010 … and only the second country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby and Soccer World Cups.
- Since the 1940s, South African golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the United States.
- In 1994, we won 11 medals in the Commonwealth Games. In 2002, we won 46.
SA Teaching the World
- South Africa houses one of the three largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo
- South Africa is the first, and to date the only, country to build nuclear weapons and the voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme
- South Africa Constitution is widely regarded as being one of the most progressive in the world, drawing from the experiences of the world’s most advanced democracies
- The South African oil company Sasol has established the only commercially viable oil-from-coal operations in the world.
- Two of the world’s most profoundly compassionate philosophies originated in South Africa – Ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity) and Gandhi’s notion of “passive resistance” (Satyagraha), which he developed while living in South Africa.
- Almost a quarter of South Africa’s non-interest budget is spent on education
- The University of South Africa UNISA is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world with 250,000 students.
- Our learner to teacher ratio has improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:34 in 2004
- South Africa’s matric (high school graduate) pass rate has improved from 49% in 1994 to 70% in 2004, but student’s receiving university exemptions has remained at 18%
- The first MBA programme outside of the United States was started by the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, in 1949.
- Over thirteen million South Africans (a quarter of the population) have access to social grants (Department of Social Development)
- Since 1994, 500 houses have been built each day for the poor and 1,000 houses per day have received electricity
- Seventy percent of South Africa’s population is urbanised
- The Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent
- The Cango Caves near Oudsthoorn is the world’s longest underground cave sequence
- South Africa is the only country to house an entire floral kingdom (fynbos), one of only 6 on the planet
- In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White shark.
- South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, at the Vredefort Dome near Parys. The scar is 2 billion years old.
- South Africa has the 3rd highest level of biodiversity (SA Tourism)
- The Cape Hyrax’s (dassie) closest relative is the African elephant
- South Africa has embraced the concept of trans-frontier ‘peace parks’, linking ecological reserves across national borders
- South Africa is the cradle of mankind
- Afrikaans is the youngest official language in the world
- The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3777 metres
- South Africa has the world’s largest deposits of gold, chromium, platinum and manganese
- The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.
- South Africa has the world’s second oldest air force, established 1920.
- South African Breweries (SABMiller) ranks as the second largest brewing company in the world. It supplies up to 50% of China’s beer.
- South Africa has the second oldest film industry in the world
- In 2007 South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was included in the Time 100, an annual list, assembled by Time magazine, of the 100 most influential people in the world
- Cape Town has the fifth-best blue sky in the world, according to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory
© South Africa: The Good News
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