Form of Government: Republic
Area: 1 220 813 sq km
Population: 59 622 350 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 48.84 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: 0.709 (rank: 114)
President and head of government: Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC), elected 15 February 2018, reconfirmed 22 May 2019
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 8 July, former President Jacob Zuma, under investigation for corruption, was arrested on contempt of court. Violent revolts broke out, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which the army repressed.

Geography.
South Africa is bordered to the north by Botswana, to the north-east by Zimbabwe, Eswatini 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$per 100 000 pop.2016
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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 (% - 2020)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

A significant percentage of the population carries the AIDS virus, though prevention campaigns have seen the number of new cases plateau. The growth rate of the population varies greatly according to the ethnic groups.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate19.72020
Death rate8.72020
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Bantu80.8%2020
Coloured8.8%2020


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Protestant71.2%2016
nonreligious/atheist12.3%2016


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Afrikaans (official)
English (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years27.9%2020
15-29 years25.8%2020


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Economy


Economic situation.
Growth is structurally stunted. Political crises and uncertain economic management have held back foreign investments, increased instability of the rand and contributed 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. In this scenario, the shutdown of many economic activities to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has further increased unemployment, already high, which is struggling to reabsorb despite the fact that the growth rate has returned to positive in 2021. The distribution of wealth is highly polarized and 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
Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)101.73index2019
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population21 743 198units2020
Active population, Females45.5%2020
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate29.2%2020
Unemployment rate, Females47.8%2020
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses1 844 000M LCU2019
Revenues1 501 000M LCU2019
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture5.447%2020
industry21.24%2020
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.115%2019
industry29.184%2019
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation177.572BN LCU2020
International reserves55 008.492M US$2020
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture.
The country is a large-scale producer of cereals, especially maize (Free State, Mpumalanga, North West) and wheat (Western Cape). 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 land10.233%2018
forests14.115%2018
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley3451000 t2019
cereals, total13 311.5161000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes2 505.7751000 t2019
roots and tubers, total2 594.4671000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asparagus0.2641000 t2019
cabbages165.4441000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry66.3551000 t2019
beans, green20.9971000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes1 993.0481000 t2019
raisins40$1000 t2006
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed6.7211000 t2019
groundnuts19.41000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea1.3521000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.4721000 t2019
sugar cane19 482.2461000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton73.3081000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute0.8341000 t2014
sisal1.1181000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples891.9791000 t2019
apricots25.2581000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits2 783.3681000 t2019
citrus fruits, nes11.6331000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados89.0651000 t2019
bananas405.1351000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms22.8691000 t2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley131.961000 ha2019
maize2 300.51000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes68.3481000 ha2019
sweet potatoes32.1121000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages2.9121000 ha2019
carrots and turnips7.6091000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry59.31000 ha2019
beans, green3.8251000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape115.6731000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed8.9141000 ha2019
groundnuts20.051000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea0.7171000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.3831000 ha2019
sugar cane298.6111000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton24.8021000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute1.1351000 ha2014
sisal1.8131000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples22.3731000 ha2019
apricots2.9221000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits82.9971000 ha2019
citrus fruits, nes0.2731000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados16.8521000 ha2019
bananas6.9021000 ha2019
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber28 322 7022019
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle12 588.6351000 heads2019
cattle and buffaloes12 588.6351000 heads2019
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 389.6591000 heads2019
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep22 085.2071000 heads2019
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats5 251.0391000 heads2019
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses146.1361000 heads2019
asses and mules161.5421000 heads2019
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds174 5881000 heads2019
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey1.0821000 t2019
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter16.9311000 t2018
cheese53.9491000 t2018
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs15 234.991t2019
freshwater fishes1 427.1t2019
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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
coal248 339.31000 t2020
coal, total248 339.31000 t2020
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
antimony1.21000 t2017
chromite16 0001000 t2020
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bentonite1801000 t2019
feldspar1201000 t2018
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diatomite2701000 t2018
kaolin24$1000 t2019
Mineral resources - Precious metals and stones
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diamonds4 0001000 ct2020
diamonds, gemstones and industrial7 0001000 ct2020
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal208 196.84M kWh2019
- nuclear13 603M kWh2019
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal42 5961000 kW2018
- other renew.5 4201000 kW2019
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation233 293.97M kWh2019
total installed capacity53 368.771000 kW2018
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium7171000 t2019
cobalt1$1000 t2019
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cars238 216no.2020
commercial vehicles209 002no.2020
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fridges711 000no.2003
ovens1 277 000no.2003
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen3541000 t2018
petrol8 425.61000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia4601000 t2018
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 1351000 t2018
cottonseed oil9.51000 t2018
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tobacco78 823t2002
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemical pulp754.91000 t2019
chemi-mechanical pulp1 141.0761000 t2019
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement15 0001000 t2018
sheet glass16 437.71000 m²2008
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production3 028.996M US$2018
food, beverages and tobacco production9 602.079M US$2018
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Trade


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.
The country is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and of a customs union (SACU) with neighbouring Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia, and also part of the larger SADC.


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) iron and steel 7 297, vehicles and parts thereof 6 833, platinum 6 577, coal products 5 894, machinery 5 368, gold 4 984, iron ores 4 785, oil and petroleum products 3 929, fruit and vegetables 3 603, chemicals 3 149, cars 2 959, manganese 2 527, chromite 2 048, metal ores 1 946, diamonds 1 897


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
manufactures42.974% of goods exports2019
ores and metals28.455% of goods exports2019
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China9 793M US$2020
United States7 131M US$2020
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China14 309M US$2020
Germany6 293M US$2020
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
202085 834M US$ -
201990 016M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
202084 062M US$ -
2019107 540M 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 866M US$2019
Number of arrivals10 228 000units2019
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Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown194 400 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried25 650.21000 units2019
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers21.352per 1000 pop.2019
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 schooling13.535years2018
Gradautes, percentage7.198%2019
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Students, primary level7 568 387units2018
Students, secondary level4 878 960units2018
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending13.532% of total expenses2019
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds2.2per 1000 pop.2014
Physicians0.91per 1000 pop.2017
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV19$% of adults2019
HIV, total11.4%2001
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending0.832% of GDP2017
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking86.3%2019
Access to electricity85$%2019
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear4.8%2015
education2.5%2015
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