South Africa’s GDP, which stood at R2.96trn ($362.3bn) in nominal terms in 2011, took a significant hit at the start of the global economic slowdown, contracting by 6.3% in the first quarter of 2009. Since then it has improved noticeably, with real growth rising to 2.9% in 2010 and to 3.1% in 2011. The country’s recovery from the recession has resulted primarily from domestic consumption, both private and public. Prices have been fairly steady, with inflation running at about 5% in 2011, thanks to an inflation-targeting policy by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). One of the most pressing obstacles that South Africa faces is unemployment, which passed 23% in 2011. With job creation one of the main pillars of the government’s strategic plans, additional attention is being paid to labour-intensive manufacturing sectors.
This chapter contains interviews with Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance; Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprise; Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD; Chi Jianxin, CEO, China Africa Development (CAD) Fund; and Henk Bleker, Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade.