Currencies by Country:

What is the South African rand (ZAR)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives South Africa a A3 rating, with a negative outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a BBB+ rating. Finally, S&P last issued a BBB+ rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

Central Bank Rate

The current central bank interest rate is 5.50%. This is the same as 2011, which was 5.50%.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $363,910,425,627 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $7,279. It grew by 2.85% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2011 is 9.99%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 139.62.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is President Jacob Zuma, who is also the head of state (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Rand is the legal tender and official currency of South Africa. The Rand was introduced in 1961 with the establishment of the Republic of South Africa, supplanting the South African Pound as legal tender at a rate of 2 Rand per Pound. One Rand can be divided into 100 cents. The Rand is available in banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Rand denominations. It is also available in 9 coins in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5 denominations.

Moody’s Rating
A3, 16 Jul 2009
S&P Rating
A

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

South Africa has been a republic since 1961. Its government can be divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. In the executive branch, the president is both head of state and head of government. The president is elected by the National Assembly and, in turn, Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the president. The legislative branch of South Africa is a bicameral Parliament consisting of the National Assembly with 400 members and the National Council of Provinces with 90 seats. Half of the members of the National Assembly are chosen from a nationwide directory and the other half are chosen from party lists in each province. Electoral reform is under consideration. The judicial branch of the central government is an independent judiciary. The bill of rights guarantees fundamental political and social rights of South Africa’s citizens. The legal system is fundamentally based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Executive Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government Head of Government President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Executive Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009) Cabinet Cabinet appointed by the president Elections president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 6 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014) Election Results Jacob ZUMA elected president; National Assembly vote – Jacob ZUMA 277, Mvume DANDALA 47, other 76

Key Economic Factors

Economic Overview:

Since becoming independent, South Africa has developed into a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the ten largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods. Growth, however, has not been strong enough to alleviate South Africa of a high unemployment rate and other economic problems like poverty and lack of economic empowerment among disadvantaged groups. South Africa’s economic policy has focused on targeting inflation and liberalizing trade with aims of increasing job growth and household income.

Export Commodities:

Gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment.

Import Commodities:

Machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments and foodstuffs.

Major Trading Partners:

Germany, US, China, Japan and UK.

Agricultural Products:

Corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool and dairy products.

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