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Reasons to be positive about South Africa - Updated 2013

Remember 1986 - A state of emergency was declared, white men did two years compulsory military service, 641 840 black people were removed from "white areas", 3 989 people were detained without trial, our economic growth rate was 0.7% and 64 countries had sports boycotts against SA… BUT NOW:

"South Africa is probably the leading economy in the world," says Dr Martyn Davies, chief executive of Frontier Advisory. "No other country of our size and economic ranking has produced as many globally successful Fortune 500 companies as we have."

South Africa ranks second worldwide in terms of the transparency surrounding its budgets - just behind the United Kingdom, tied with France, and ahead of New Zealand and the United States - according to the Open Budget Index.

South Africa has officially made the biggest T-shirt on the planet and became the holder of a new world record in 2010. Over 64 m in length, and 43 m wide (excluding the sleeves), the T-shirt is taller than the Statue of Liberty and has enough material to run the length of Robben Island twice.

Cape Town has the fifth-best blue sky in the world according to the UK's National Physical Laboratory. South Africa houses one of the three largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo.

South Africa is the first, and to date only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.

Cape Town took third place on 2ThinkNow’s 2010 list for emerging innovative cities, coming in after the Middle East's Abu Dhabi and Dubai, ranking the progressiveness of developing nations on criteria such as geography, population, health and wealth.

We've had single digit inflation since 1993 - following 20 years of double-digit inflation. Mortgage rates are at their lowest level since 1988. In 2010 it ran as low as 3.5%. Over the past 5 years, Consumer Confidence in SA has improved by 43%.

South Africa is one of only 12 countries, where you can drink water from a tap. Our tap water was found to be the 3rd best quality in the entire world. South African wines win international awards every year and we have the longest wine route in the world.

South African Breweries is the 2nd largest brewer in the world and has a brewing presence in more than 40 countries. SA also ranks 12th in terms of beer consumption (China 1; USA 2; Russia 3; Brazil 4 and Germany 5).

The Kruger National Park has the most innovative management of a national park anywhere in the world - and is the world's most profitable game park. The Cape Peninsula contains more species of plants per hectare than any other area of the world.

South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20 and ranks 5th overall on the 2012 Ibrahim Index which measures the quality of African governance, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana and Seychelles took the first four places out of 52. Nigeria was ranked 42. "Personal satisfaction" with the SA's democracy rose from 49% in 2008 to 60% in 2011.

South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R814.1 billion in 2012-13. South Africa’s debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%. SA ranks 1st among upper middle-income economies in the World. The South African stock market rose 23% in 2012.

South Africa ranks 1st in Platinum output, 2nd in Palladium output, 3rd in Gold output, 6th in Coal output and 9th in Wool output.

SA is ranked 2nd out of 183 countries for good practice in protecting both borrowers and lenders when obtaining credit for business. South Africa ranked 6th in house price improvement indices as a % change in 2009, and 1st as a % change 1999/2009.

South Africa ranks 7th out of 45 countries in the "Big Mac Index 2012". The price of a Big Mac is 42% less in South Africa than in the USA. In Switzerland and Norway, it is 62% more.

South Africa is ranked 16th out of a total of 135 economies in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2012, ahead of many developed nations, including, the UK (18th), United States (22), Canada (21), Australia (25) and France (57).

South Africa exported 277,844 vehicles in 2012, the second highest annual export figure on record. SA ranks 28th in terms of number of cars produced and 18th in terms of number of cars sold.

South Africa ranks 24th out of 192 countries in the Economist’s "Largest Gold Reserves" Index. It ranks 32nd out of 165 countries in terms of the size of its US$ reserves, ahead of Australia, Sweden and Chile. The USA ranks 17th, the UK 23rd, China is ranked 1st.

South Africa ranks in the top 20 countries for agricultural output, first for regulation of securities exchanges, second in availability of financial services and second in the soundness of its banks.

South Africa is ranked among the top 5 countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at 3 times the global average). Table Mountain was inaugurated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012. South Africa was the first African country to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010. It is only the second country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby Union and Soccer World Cups.

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world with approximately 300,000 students.

Since 1994, 435 houses have been built each day for the poor. SA has 45 million active cell phones (population 49 million) – ranking in the top 5 globally in terms of cell phone coverage.

PLUS - Magnificent highways - Warm, friendly, vibrant rainbow people - Nelson Mandela - The world's most progressive constitution - Kreepy Kraulies, a South African invention - Mrs Ball's chutney - Biltong - The world's best looking population – The perfect climate - Ernie Els - 45 Blue Flag beaches - Kulula.com - Rissington Inn …

"I've got four children and ten grandchildren and we are all staying right here" - Raymond Ackerman, CEO Pick 'n Pay.

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