Growth and development policy

New data, new approaches, and new evidence – Part I: South Africa

The Republic of South Africa faces the imperative of escaping economic stagnation. The broad-level economic ills besetting South Africa are well known but bear brief repetition: real GDP per capita has hardly grown for nine years; productivity growth has been slow and appears to be slowing; the unemployment rate has recently been increasing from already extraordinarily high levels; and inequality remains stubbornly very high.

This note is part I of a two part series. In part II, the regional economy and collaborative policies that realize mutual benefits and/or confront problems that are regional in scope are in focus. Here, in part I, focus is on domestic policies that take the external economic environment largely as given. The remainder of this note is structured as follows. Section 2 briefly presents the new data and approaches that have helped to bring new information to bear. Section 3 describes salient results. Finally, section 4 summarizes and concludes.