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South Africa's Economy Has Expanded in the Past 20 Years



From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

A new report is praising South Africa for its economic growth over the past 20 years. The investment banking company Goldman Sachs examined South Africa's economic progress since the end of white, minority rule. The report says the value of goods and services produced there jumped from $136 billion in 1994 to $400 billion. It also says the percentage of homes with electricity increased from 60 to 85.

Colin Coleman works for Goldman Sachs. He says Nelson Mandela faced huge problems when he became South Africa's president. Mr. Coleman says the nation had large debts and no money. But, he notes that those problems gave way to a time of economic growth and low inflation, until the world financial crisis.

Joanne Yawitch heads South Africa's National Business Initiative. She says the Goldman Sachs report showed an increase in employment and a huge increase in the size of the middle class. But South Africa still has problems. The report notes that 85 percent of blacks are poor, while 87 percent of whites are middle to upper class. The education system continues to struggle, and the unemployment rate remains at about 24 percent. There has been criticism of the report.

Tracy Ledger is a researcher at the Public Affairs Research Institute at Wits University in Johannesburg. She says the report does not appear to understand the real causes of poverty in South Africa. She notes that rising wages are a result of the high cost of living. Joanne Yawitch agrees with some of the criticisms. Still, she says the report draws attention to the progress and the need to continue growing.

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