World Grain - March 2021 - 18

COUNTRY FOCUS

FOCUS ON

SOUTH
AFRICA
Country is becoming an increasingly
important grain exporter
by Chris Lyddon

South Africa is set to grow in importance as a grain exporter in
2020-21, on the back of an increased corn harvest and increased
demand from its neighbors. The country's economy, like many, is
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7KH,QWHUQDWLRQDO*UDLQV&RXQFLO,*&SXWV6RXWK$IULFD¶VWRtal grains production in 2020-21 at 18.6 million tonnes, up from
18 million the previous year. The total includes 2.1 million tonnes
RIZKHDWFRPSDUHGZLWKPLOOLRQLQ7KHFRXQWU\¶V
corn crop in 2020-21 is put at 15.8 million tonnes, down from 16
million the year before.
" Helped by regular showers in recent months, production prosSHFWV UHPDLQ EURDGO\ IDYRUDEOH´ WKH ,*& VDLG RI WKH FRXQWU\¶V
corn crop.
A forecast sorghum crop of 100,000 tonnes in 2020-21 compares with 200,000 the previous year.
South Africa's total grain imports in 2020-21 are put at 2.2 milOLRQWRQQHVGRZQIURPPLOOLRQWKH\HDUEHIRUH
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tonnes, up from 2.1 million. Forecast
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of wheat, down from 2.4 million
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million tonnes of corn, comSDUHGZLWKPLOOLRQWKHSUHvious year.
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that, for corn, " relatively
attractive local corn prices,
progressive exports and favorable weather forecasts are
LQÀXHQFLQJ SURGXFHUV SODQWing decisions positively. "
" Local corn prices are trading
at more than 30% higher than a
year ago, giving commercial produc-

KEY FACTS
Capital: Pretoria (administrative capital); Cape
Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial
capital)
Population: 56,978,635 (July 2021 est.)
Religions: Christian 86%, ancestral, tribal, animist, or other traditional African religions 5.4%,
Muslim 1.9%, other 1.5%, nothing in particular
5.2% (2015 est.)
Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of
the continent of Africa.
Government: Parliamentary republic. Chief of
state and head of government: Matamela Cyril
Ramaphosa (since Feb. 15, 2018).
Economy: South Africa is a middle-income
emerging market with an abundant supply of
natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, and a stock exchange that is Africa's largest
and among the top 20 in the world. Economic
growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing
to an estimated 0.7% in 2017. Unemployment,
poverty and inequality remain a challenge. Official unemployment is roughly 27% of the workforce and runs significantly higher among Black
youth. Even though the country's modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout
the region, unstable electricity supplies retard
growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is
building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs
to improve power grid reliability. South Africa's
economic policy has focused on controlling inflation while empowering a broader economic
base. However, the country faces structural constraints that also limit economic growth, such as
skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike
action. The government faces growing pressure
from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of basic services to low-income areas, to
increase job growth, and to provide university
level-education at affordable prices. Political infighting among South Africa's ruling party and
the volatility of the rand risks economic growth.
International investors are concerned about the
country's long-term economic stability. In late
2016, most major international credit ratings
agencies downgraded South Africa's international debt to junk bond status.
GDP per capita:  $12,482 (2019 est.); inflation:
4.1% (2019 est.); unemployment: 28.53% (2019
est.).
Currency: Rand (ZAR): 14.61 rand equal 1 US dollar (Feb. 16, 2021).
Exports: $123.864 billion (2019 est.): gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals,
machinery and equipment.
Imports: $131.721 billion (2019 est.): machinery
and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products,
scientific instruments, foodstuffs.
Agriculture: 2.8% (2017 est.) of GDP and 4.6% of
the labor force.
Internet: Code: .za; 31,107,064 users.
Source: CIA Factbook

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World Grain - March 2021

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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_09_01
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_07_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_06_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_05_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_04_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_03_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_01_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_12_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_11_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_10_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_09_01
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