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Looking forward to move to South Africa? Find, in this article, an overview of its geography, demography, economy...

Thanks to its developed economy and rising growth rate, South Africa has become a top destination for expatriates worldwide. Whether you are planning to work, study or set up a business in the country, several opportunities are available. Despite a few social loopholes such as the high unemployment rate (26.4% in 2015) and a high crime rate transformed into a major political issue, South African has been rebuilding itself since more than 2 decades. Thus, South Africa can be the ideal place for you if you wish to discover its huge cultural heritage and benefit from its thriving economy.

Geography

Located at the Southernmost part of Africa, South Africa is bordered by Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The country consists of mountainous areas as well as plains and a beautiful coastline stretching over some 3,000 km. The climate varies from one region to another. While Cape enjoys a Mediterranean climate, Durban and the Southeast experience a rather humid subtropical climate. The Atlantic coast, for its part, has a desert-type climate and the Northern Plateau enjoys a tropical climate.

History

In 1990, South Africa recovered civil peace, allowing its population to once again live together with respect and in harmony, hence its nickname, the “Rainbow Country”. Nelson Mandela, elected the Head of the State, has thus become an emblematic figure in South African history.

Today, South Africa is known to be a democratic and multiracial nation, despite social and economic segregation which still prevail. However, the country attracts many foreigners wishing to study, work or settle there, although these involve a series of formalities.

Demography

The South African population, to date, consists of some 54 million inhabitants. Although racial segregation has been abolished, the population census still takes into account racial division. Moreover, the black population, consisting mainly of Zulu and Xhosa which are the largest ethnic groups in South Africa), is concentrated in the East. A large number of young South Africans, for their part, preferred to leave the country in the 1990s. However, many of them have come back since the 2008-2010 global economic crisis.

The white population thus consists of Afrikaners (descendants of Dutch, British, Portuguese and Germans settlers) as well as French Huguenot descendants following religious wars in France.

Languages

According to the 1996 South African Constitution, 11 official languages are spoken in the country, namely Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Note that these languages are spoken by the main ethnic groups.

Economy

As a capitalist country, South Africa is favorable to the market economy. It now accounts for a quarter of whole Africa's GDP, with an average growth rate of 5% per annum. Moreover, 60% of the top 100 African companies are of South African origin. Many multinational companies have also evolved, thus triggering economic prosperity and competition on international markets. Note that South Africa has become a developed country thanks to its transport network along with energy systems.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – South Africa 
South Africa Official Portal www.southafrica.net
South Africa Info – Brand South Africa's information gateway to South Africa www.southafrica.info
South African Government www.gov.za

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See also

If you wish to drive in South Africa, make sure to have an international driver's license which is recognized by local authorities.
Being the most developed African country, South Africa hosts a very developed transport network, including buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, etc.
By moving to South Africa, rest assured that you are not likely to get bored during your free time thanks to several leisure activities: sports, trekking..
Once you have settled in South Africa, regardless of the purpose of your stay, you will have to pay different types of taxes, including income tax.

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