Form of Government: Republic
Area: 1 220 813 sq km
Population: 56 521 900 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 46.30 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 22° - 35° S; long. 16° - 33° E
Capital: Pretoria=Tshwane (administrative capital) 741 651 inhab. (2011); Tshwane (Pretoria) 2 921 488 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration; Bloemfontein (judicial capital) 256 185 inhab. (2011); Mangaung (Bloemfontein) 747 431 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration; Cape Town=Kaapstad (legislative capital) 433 688 inhab. (2011); Cape Town 3 740 026 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration
Currency: South African rand (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.666 (rank: 119)
President and head of government: Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC), elected 15 February 2018
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 7 May 2014: ANC (African National Congress), 249; DA (Democratic Alliance), 89; EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), 25; IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party, Zulu), 10; NFP (National Freedom Party), 6; others, 21
Internet: www.statssa.gov.za (Statistics South Africa)
Member of AU, Commonwealth, SACU, SADC, UN, WTO

South Africa

Useful information

International license plate code ZA
International dialling code 0027
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 220/230
Driving side left
Internet code .za

GMT  +2
DST  not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Cape Town 16.2; Durban 20.5; Johannesburg 16.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Cape Town 20/10.5; Durban 23.5/16.5; Johannesburg 20/10.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Cape Town 6/11; Durban 7/6; Johannesburg 9/9
Annual average precipitation (mm) Cape Town 505; Durban 1010; Johannesburg 703
Days of rainfall (annual average) Cape Town 89; Durban 89; Johannesburg 71

Politics and current affairs

On 13 February 2018, the Executive Committee of the ANC requested the resignation of President J. Zuma, accused of numerous counts of corruption and held responsible for the bad state of South Africa’s economy. Zuma resigned the following day, and on 15 February, he was replaced by Vice-President C. Ramaphosa, who had already replaced him as the head of the ANC on 18 December 2017.

Geography.
South Africa is bordered to the north by Botswana, to the north-east by Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique and to the north-west by Namibia. It lies to the east and the south-east on the Indian Ocean and to the south-west and the west on the Atlantic Ocean.
The country also completely surrounds Lesotho. Mostly surrounded by the sea, South Africa is predominantly made up of plateaux that rise up towards the coast (to the east lie the Drakensberg mountain range) as well as a large escarpment from the foot of which extends the coastal plain. The main rivers are the River Orange, with its tributary of the River Vaal, and the River Limpopo.
The climate is tropical with abundant rainfall in the east, mediterranean in the south and less rainy in the west.

Government


The Union of South Africa was created from the federation of the former Boer republics of Orange and Transvaal and the British colonies of the Cape and Natal in 1910. It was an autonomous Dominion of the British Crown and fully independent in 1931. In 1948, the white oligarchy of Dutch descent (the Boers), belonging to the National Party, officially imposed a regime of racial segregation (apartheid) on the country. In 1960, the African National Congress, incorporating the black opposition, was outlawed. South Africa was condemned by the international community and left the Commonwealth, proclaiming itself a republic on 31 May 1961. The process of dismantling apartheid began in 1990-91 during the presidency of Fredrik De Klerk, who legalised the ANC and released its leader, Nelson Mandela, from prison. The first free multi-racial elections, accompanied by the withdrawal of international sanctions, were held in 1994 with the victory of the ANC and the election of Mandela as President. The provisional 1993 Constitution and the new Constitution in force since 4 February 1997 guarantee the cohabitation of the different communities by means of the total protection of minority groups and the sub-division of the state into nine provinces, each benefiting from a wide range of autonomy.
The President of the Republic is elected by the National Assembly and exercises executive power. The Parliament is made up of the National Assembly (400 members elected for five years by proportional representation) and the National Council of the Provinces (90 members designated by the provincial assemblies, with a mandate of five years). Those parties gaining at least 20% of the votes in the National Assembly may appoint a Vice-President.


Defence.
The defence force, (SANDF), set up in 1994, was formed by integrating the soldiers of the military wing of the ANC into the South African armed forces.


Justice.
The legal system is based on British Common Law and on Dutch Law. In 2006, the National Assembly approved a law allowing for the marriage of homosexual couples.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force15.8%2015
Army60.4%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes4 309.7per 100 000 pop.2008
Homicides34.3per 100 000 pop.2015
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Soweto1 271 628inhab.2011
Johannesburg957 441inhab.2011
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Johannesburg4 434 827inhab.2011
Cape Town3 740 026inhab.2011
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2017)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

AIDS has reaped many victims and a large part of the population is HIV positive. The situation has been having lacerating effects on society. The growth rate of the population varies greatly according to the ethnic groups.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate21.32017
Death rate92017
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Bantu80.8%2017
Coloured8.8%2017


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Protestant73.2%2010
nonreligious/atheist14.9%2010


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Afrikaans (official)
English (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years28.3%2017
15-29 years27.7%2017


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Economy


Economic situation.
Growth is modest. The political crisis and uncertain economic management are holding back foreign investments, increasing instability of the rand and contributing to a worsening of evaluations by rating agencies. A chronic problem is the scarcity of electric energy; the construction of new power stations and an update of the electrical network are proceeding slowly. High unemployment is a cause of serious social conflict. A large part of the population has to rely on government subsidies to survive. High deficit complicates the adoption of effective policies to stimulate the economy.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)116.56index2016
Balance of trade-12 297M US$2017
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population22 040 783units2017
Active population, Females45%2017
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate27.2%2017
Unemployment rate, Females48.8%2017
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses1 441 777M LCU2017
Revenues1 285 690M LCU2017
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture5.6%2017
industry23.4%2017
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.4%2016
industry29%2016
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation156.2BN LCU2017
International reserves50 722.9M US$2017
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture.
The country is a large-scale producer of cereals, especially wheat and maize. The range of fruit crops is also very significant: potatoes, citrus fruits, apples, tomatoes, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and tropical fruit (bananas, papayas, pineapples and mangos) are grown, while the south-western area of the Cape excels for its vineyards. Main industrial crops include sugar cane and tobacco, followed by soybeans, sunflowers, peanuts, cotton, castor oil plants, kenaf, sisal, Phormium and tea.
Forests.
The forests, on the southern maritime slopes and on the Drakensberg, produce tannin-bearing wood (wattle) and wood for industrial processing (Eucalyptus), as well as timber.
Livestock.
Wool and karakul skins are produced from sheep; angora goats are also very widespread.
Fishing.
The most abundant species of fish (sardines, mackerel and cod) are caught in the cold Atlantic waters of Port Nolloth, Lambert’s Bay, Stompneus Bay, Saldanha, Cape Town and Hout Bay. Aquaculture of molluscs is also developed (especially abalones).

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land10.64%2015
forests7.62%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley339.1351000 t2016
cereals, total10 167.0841000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes2 150.8441000 t2016
roots and tubers, total2 212.3531000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asparagus0.2541000 t2016
cabbages149.6281000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry34.4451000 t2016
beans, green23.3751000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes2 008.8191000 t2016
raisins401000 t2006
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed6.3711000 t2016
groundnuts17.681000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea1.8181000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.4431000 t2016
sugar cane15 074.611000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton27.2741000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute0.8341000 t2014
sisal1.0061000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples918.0851000 t2016
apricots25.8311000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits2 241.2451000 t2016
citrus fruits, nes10.4111000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados86.4681000 t2016
bananas310.1171000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms18.8031000 t2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley88.6951000 ha2016
maize1 946.751000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes59.5821000 ha2016
sweet potatoes21.4631000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages2.6331000 ha2016
carrots and turnips7.3171000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry34.41000 ha2016
beans, green3.7691000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape120.4771000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed8.6021000 ha2016
groundnuts22.61000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea0.8641000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.4151000 ha2016
sugar cane246.9371000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton7.8641000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute1.1351000 ha2014
sisal1.6071000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples24.0361000 ha2016
apricots2.8511000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits67.0451000 ha2016
citrus fruits, nes0.3171000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados16.5841000 ha2016
bananas5.2521000 ha2016
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber26 446 0982016
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle13 400.2721000 heads2016
cattle and buffaloes13 400.2721000 heads2016
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 512.4531000 heads2016
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep23 287.2471000 heads2016
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats5 618.4731000 heads2016
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses147.1511000 heads2016
asses and mules162.2261000 heads2016
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds173 8561000 heads2016
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey1.0861000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter19.251000 t2014
cheese88.7891000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs16 045t2016
freshwater fishes1 230t2016
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Mineral resources are abundant and diversified. Substantial coal deposits are found at Witbank, Ermelo-Breyton and Springs (in Mpumalanga), at Vryheid, Utrecht and Paulpietersburg (in KwaZulu-Natal), at Clydesdale-Sasolburg (in the Free State province). The country is extremely rich in gold, with deposits in Witwatersrand (the most famous), Odendaalsrus, Elsburg (Germiston), West Driefontein, Western Deep Levels, East Daggafontein, Vaal Reef, Freegold, President Brand and Kloof.
Some gold minerals also contain uranium. There are also numerous diamond deposits: the main ones are those in Kimberley (a national monument), in Pretoria (Premier) and in Jagersfontein and Koffiefontein (Free State province). Alluvial diamonds are found on the bed of the River Vaal (to the west of Kimberley), at Lichtenburg and at the mouth of the River Orange (Port Nolloth) where with special equipment diamonds are also mined from the sea bed. Platinum mines are particularly productive (at Rustenburg and Union), and as a result the country accounts for three-quarters of world output.
Other minerals mined include iron (at Thabazimbi, in the Limpopo area and in Prestwick, in Natal), manganese (in Postmasburg, Hotazel, Lohathla, Mamatwan, Adams, Devon and Gopani), chromite (in Rustenburg-Northam and Steelpoort), antimony (in Gravelotte), vanadium (in Witbank), lead (in Broken Hill and Pering), zinc (in Gamsberg, Pering and Maranda), tin (in Waterberg and Potgietersrust), copper (in Okiep-Springbok, in the northern Cape and in Phalaborwa, in the Limpopo area), nickel (in Rustenburg and Insizwa), cobalt, zircon and titanium. Important non-metallic minerals are asbestos (the areas around Barberton, Pietersburg and Letaba), magnesite (the Limpopo and Mpumalanga areas), mica (in Letaba), phosphates (in Phalaborwa, Glenover and Langebaan), fluorite (in Vergenoeg), kaolin (in Grahamstown and Riversdale). There are important salt-works at Port Elizabeth and at Brantford.
Energy and industry.
Most electricity produced is of thermal origin (coal); the main facilities are located in Mpumalanga province. The largest hydro-electrical complex operates in the Drakensberg, between Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. There is a nuclear power station with two reactors in Koeberg.
The steel-making industry has plants in Middelburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging (Vanderbijl Park), Newcastle, Witbank and Johannesburg; the metal-working industry is centred in Zaaiplaats, Potgietersrust and Springs. There are about twenty active cement factories. The chemical industry is focused on Modderfontein, Coalbrook, Somerset West, Sasolburg, Phalaborwa, Klipfontein and Potcherstroom. There are refineries in Cape Town, Durban, Mossel Bay, Sasolburg and Secunda (Mpumalanga). Rubber is processed in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and East London. The mechanical industry is centred on Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, East London, Elsies River, Uitenhage, Durban, Johannesburg, Natalspruit, Kempton Park (aeroplanes) and Martindale. In particular, the car and spare-parts industry has grown significantly. The textile industry is centred on Worcester, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Hammersdale, Mooi River and Uitenhage; the paper industry on Springs, Ngodwana, Tugela and Enstra.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coal252 282.31000 t2017
coal, total252 282.31000 t2017
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
antimony1.21000 t2017
chromite15 0001000 t2017
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bentonite165.51000 t2015
feldspar125.11000 t2015
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
kaolin20.11000 t2015
silicates851000 t2017
Mineral resources - Precious metals and stones
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diamonds6 7001000 ct2017
diamonds, gemstones and industrial8 7001000 ct2017
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal215 198.9M kWh2015
- nuclear10 965M kWh2015
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal40 9741000 kW2015
- other renew.2 3801000 kW2015
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation231 716.9M kWh2015
total installed capacity47 2751000 kW2015
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium6901000 t2016
cobalt1.31000 t2015
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cars321 358no.2017
commercial vehicles268 593no.2017
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fridges711 000no.2003
ovens1 277 000no.2003
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen3391000 t2015
petrol8 425.61000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia6201000 t2016
hydrochloric acid206.71000 t2008
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets18 414.71000 m²2008
cotton fabrics98.7M m²2008
Industry - Clothing and footwear
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
footwear24 731 100pairs2011
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley3 1501000 t2014
cottonseed oil6.71000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tobacco78 823t2002
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemical pulp1 065.6091000 t2016
chemi-mechanical pulp1 279.7161000 t2016
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement13 0001000 t2015
sheet glass16 437.71000 m²2008
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production3 379.2M US$2010
food, beverages and tobacco production10 712.3M US$2010
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Trade


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.

The country is part of a customs union (SACU) with neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, and also part of the larger SADC.


Finance and banking.
The country’s central bank is the South African Reserve Bank. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is the most important exchange in Africa.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures51.153% of goods exports2016
ores and metals23.575% of goods exports2016
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China8 666M US$2017
United States6 620M US$2017
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China15 224M US$2017
Germany9 555M US$2017
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
201789 041.703M US$ -
201675 207.281M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2017101 338.638M US$ -
201691 591.760M US$ -
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Tourism


Tourism. The main tourist destinations are the great national parks, including the Kruger Park, which is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (shared with Mozambique and Zimbabwe), and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (shared with Botswana).

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures5 354M US$2016
Number of arrivals10 044 000units2016
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Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown194 400 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried19 504.41000 units2016
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers29.944per 1000 pop.2017
Computers84.6per 1000 pop.2005
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Social and welfare


Education and research.

Education is compulsory and free from 6 to 16 years of age.


Social security and health.
The social security system provides benefits for the unemployed, those who have sustained injuries at work and the elderly. Basic healthcare is guaranteed to all, but the public health service is lacking.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling13.4years2014
Gradautes, percentage12%2016
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level249 103units2016
Teachers, secondary level190 022units2016
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending8.5% of total expenses2016
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds2.3per 1000 pop.2010
Physicians0.8per 1000 pop.2016
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV18.9% of adults2016
HIV, total11.4%2001
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending0.8% of GDP2015
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking84.75%2016
Access to electricity84.2%2016
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear4.5%2010-11
education2.7%2010-11
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