Working Paper
Understanding and characterizing the services sector in South Africa

An overview

The South African services sector is large and growing. This coupled with declining employment shares in manufacturing and mining (i.e. deindustrialization) suggests that South Africa is a de facto service-orientated economy. Employment patterns in services reveal a segmentation that is characterized by high-productivity, high-wage services, low-productivity, low-wage services, and government services. There has been sustained growth in services exports in the post-1994 period but the composition is biased toward traditional services. Increased entry into developing country markets is characterized by increasingly sophisticated services. A key driver of export growth is the expansion of foreign direct investment into developed country markets, and increasingly, into developing country markets, particularly African markets.