With a population of 56.4 million (2018), South Africa has 11 official languages. Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English are the most commonly spoken first languages. The country has three capital cities: Pretoria/Tshwane (administrative), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial). It is Africa's second largest economy by GDP (after Nigeria) and the continent's only member of the G20. South Africa is a member of the Commonwealth and an active participant in international forums. It was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve on the UN Security Council from 2019 – 2020, which will be the third time it has served on the Council. South Africa is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), currently serving as Chair, and an active member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). With Australia, South Africa jointly hosts the AUD 2 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project involving institutions from more than 20 countries.
South Africa is Australia's largest export market in Africa with two-way trade in goods and services totalling AUD 3.6 billion in 2017. South Africa is also Australia's most significant investment partner in Africa, with bilateral investment approaching AUD 15 billion in 2017. An MOU between Australia and South Africa was signed in 2010, recognising the long history of cooperation between the two countries and aiming to strengthen political, economic and strategic engagement.
Australia maintains a High Commission in Pretoria. South Africa is represented in Australia by a High Commission in Canberra.
Economic and trade information
- South Africa Country/Economy Fact Sheet [PDF]
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