Monday, April 21, 2008

Perspectives: South Africa - where do we actually fit in to a global economy?

This one simply blew my mind...

A little while ago, I had a look at the measure of SA's wealth - GDP [gross domestic product] and how SA has grown in wealth - you can see it here.

The funny thing about numbers is that they don't mean much unless you actually compare it to something else. South Africa generated $255,155 million in 2006. So what!?

As I was saying, this one simply blew my mind. Well, have a look for yourself:

Quick explanation:

  • the size of the bubble reflects population size
  • the further right the bubble is, the higher the country's total GDP [or wealth generated]; and
  • the higher up the bubble is, the higher the average GDP per person [the best indicator - shows average wealth generated per person]
  • SA is the green bubble in all the graphs
South Africa vs major African countries
[Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria]

You can see here that SA is way ahead of the pack compared to other African countries, both in terms of total GDP and GDP per person.

South Africa vs other emerging market countries
[India, China and Brazil]

Although SA is much smaller than all these other emerging markets, we're still ahead in terms of GDP per person.

South Africa vs some significant global economies
[USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Australia]

Um, well.... what can I say. Blew my mind. Amazing that we can be so far ahead in the graphs above, and here we barely feature at all.

Certainly changed my perspective on where we live. Not in a bad way... there are lots of opportunities and positive aspects related to this. But I'll never think about it the same way again, that's for sure.

You can find my other posts in this theme here -> Perspectives

Source for information: International Monetary Fund


phillygirl said...

Graphs always manage to put things into perspective and those sure are some interesting ones :)

sachutney said...

Interesting graphs. The one problem is GDP and GDP per capita tell you nothing about the distribution of wealth. This is one of our big issues in SA. We have one of the highest gini coefficients (wikipedia it) in the world. Meaning we have one of the widest gaps between the wealthy and poor.
That is a problem that needs to be fixed. But, we are a rocking place, none the less