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The South African economy exhibited weak quarter-on-quarter real GDP growth earlier this year and faces high and rising unemployment, weak domestic demand, and falling market prices on key export commodities.

Accelerated growth is on the horizon for South Africa, however, according to consensus forecasts of multiple major international agencies, even if at a slower rate than other large sub-saharan African economies. African countries collectively are expected to be the most rapidly growing economies worldwide during the next five years.

  • South Africa is currently the third largest African economy by GDP (ppp) following Nigeria and Egypt and is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.6 percent during each of the next five years.
  • In contrast, Nigeria, the continent's largest economy, has an expected annual average rate of 1.96 percent during the same period, according to the IMF.

It will be interesting to monitor South Africa's official growth statistics through the end of the year. During the period 2012-2014, the South African economy followed this same growth pattern, but expectations of the major international agencies were too high, based on analysis from Knoema's Forecast Tracking Tool. The World Bank, IMF and OECD consistently overestimated South Africa's real GDP growth by 0.6 to 2.0 percentage points since 2011.

Explore forecasts from Knoema Economic Insight or examine the accuracy of major international agency forecasts with our Forecast Tracking Tool.

Sources: IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO), April 2015, World Bank Global Economic Monitor, August 2015, Accuracy of Economic Forecasts, May 2015

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