South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange counts in the top 20 in the world. It has sophisticated financial, legal, communications, and energy sectors, and modern transport infrastructure supporting a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region.
Economic activity is centred around Johannesburg and Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. The economy is one of four in Africa that are ranked as “upper-middle” by the World Bank. The other three are Botswana, Gabon and Mauritius. Nevertheless, about a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day. The South African Rand is the most actively traded, and hence one of the more volatile emerging market currencies in the world.