South Africa Reports 1.2% Economic Growth In The Last Quarter Of 2021

A new report focused on the final quarter of 2021 showed an expansion in South Africa’s economy following recovery in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.

Data from Statistics South Africa said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.2% quarter on quarter in the last three months of 2021 following a contraction of 1.7% in the third quarter.

“The fourth quarter was upbeat, with personal services, trade, manufacturing and agriculture the key drivers of growth. An increase in demand for goods and services drove up the expenditure side of the economy, with exports and household expenditure the most significant contributors to growth,” said Stats SA.

Economic growth of 4.9% was recorded in the 2021 calendar year after contracting by 6.4% in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, according to the agency.

These economic difficulties are reflected in the record unemployment rates recorded in 2021: from 34.9% in October, it reached up to 65% among young people, but agriculture, forestry and fisheries led the growth statistics in that quarter by posting an increase of 12.2% quarter on quarter, manufacturing by 2.8% and retail trade sales by 2.9%.

The electricity, gas and water supply industry decreased by 3.4% with construction also plummeting by at least 2.2% during the last quarter of 2021.

After showing growth during the second and third quarters, mining has slowed down by 3.1% during the last quarter. Despite this, the sector remains the current bedrock of the economy posting annual growth of at least 11.8% during 2021, followed by agriculture (8.3%) and manufacturing (6.6%).

The finance ministry says economic growth of 2.1% is expected this year which rate officials and economists have said is far below the level required to make a meaningful dent in unemployment and poverty.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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