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Discovering South Africa

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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 social obstacles such as the high unemployment rate (26.4% in 2015) and a high crime rate, South Africa has been rebuilding itself steadily for the past two decades. Thus, South Africa can be the ideal place for you, if you wish to discover its vast cultural and natural heritage and benefit from its thriving economy.

Geography of South Africa

Located at the Southern-most part of Africa, South Africa is bordered by Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, while the nation of Lesotho in enclosed within it. 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 the Western Cape enjoys a mediterranean climate, Durban and the Southeast experience a rather humid subtropical climate. The Atlantic coast has a desert-type climate and the Northern Plateau enjoys a mixture of savanna and a tropical climate with dramatic summer rains.

South Africa's history

In 1994, South Africa ended apartheid, after a long period of racial segregation and discrimination. The significance of the move towards racial integration earned its nickname, the “Rainbow Nation”. Nelson Mandela, elected the Head of the State, continues to be viewed as a leading figure in South Africa's history.

Today, South Africa is a democratic and multiracial nation with a progressive constitution, 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 formal racial segregation has been abolished, the population census still takes into account racial division. South Africans consist of a range of ethnicities, though the main ones are African, Caucasian and Asian. Within the African population, there are a number of ethnic groups, of which the Zulu and Xhosa are the largest. The Caucasian and Asian populations descend from India, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal and, sometimes, other parts of the African continent.

A large number of young South Africans, preferred to leave the country in the 1990s. However, many of them have come back since the 2008-2010 global economic crisis.

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.

In urban areas, English is the main language used in a business context,

Economy

South Africa is a capitalist country that favours the market economy. It now accounts for a quarter of the whole of Africa's GDP, with an average growth rate of 5% per annum. In addition, 60% of the top 100 African companies are of South African origin. Many multinational companies have also evolved, resulting in economic properity and the country's competitive presence in international markets. South Africa has become a developed country thanks to its natural resources, transport network and developments in energy production.

 Useful links:

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

Durban is a young and dynamic city that attracts many expatriates, providing not only various opportunities but also a range of accommodation.
Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, however it also offer a range of accommodation for those looking to make a more permanent move.
Pretoria is home to the countries government and two popular universities, creating a busy and diverse city with a range of accommodation available.
Despite being a continuously developing country, South Africa holds a deep cultural and historical heritage that you can discover during your stay.

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