The Real Economy Bulletin - Provincial Review 2016

The annual REB Provincial Review analyses developments in the real economy and in development policies and projects at the provincial level.

Main Bulletin: The Real Economy Bulletin Provincial Review 2016

Introduction: The share of provinces in the national GDP and population varies substantially. Gauteng alone accounts for over a third of the GDP and almost a quarter of the population. In contrast, the Eastern Cape accounts for 13% of the population but 8% of the GDP, while the Northern Cape contributes just 2% of both the economy and the population. The differences are even starker in the provinces' contribution to the real economy. Read more.

Eastern Cape: The real economy of the Eastern Cape is characterised by a relatively high share of manufacturing, but an economy that lags the national economy in productivity terms. Read more.

Free State: The Free State’s real economy is dominated by gold mining and agriculture, with limited manufacturing and construction. The province has battled with the long decline in gold mining, which has dampened growth in both output and employment. Read more.

Gauteng: Gauteng dominates manufacturing in South Africa, and especially heavy industry. It has long been the fastest growing and richest province in the country, although its growth is largely driven by its status as a global financial centre and by high-level services rather than the core sectors of the real economy. Read more.

KwaZulu-Natal: KwaZulu-Natal has a strong role in South Africa’s manufacturing and agriculture, and has its largest port. Its manufacturing industry has been diverse, combining strong light and heavy industries. But half the population lives in impoverished former “homeland” regions, compared to the national average of 30%. Read more.

Limpopo: Limpopo’s growth since 2003 has been dominated by the mining sector, especially platinum, and by national construction projects. The provincial economy grew rapidly during the mining boom from 2003 to 2011, but has since slowed to below the national rate. The province also has by far the largest share of residents in former “homeland” areas in the country. Read more.

Mpumalanga: Mpumalanga’s economy is dominated by mining, mostly coal for the Eskom power plants that are also located in the province. As a result, it benefited from the commodity boom that lasted from 2003 and 2011, and has experienced much slower growth since it ended. Read more.

North West: The North West economy depends heavily on platinum mining, with limited manufacturing, agriculture and construction. As a result, over the past 20 years, its fortunes mainly tracked commodity prices, with a boom from 2003 to 2011 and a sharp slowdown from 2011 to 2014. Read more.

Northern Cape: The Northern Cape real economy has been dominated by iron ore and ferro alloys. As a result, its economy has been closely linked to the price of iron ore, with rapid growth during the commodity boom and a significant slowdown since then. The province has seen significant out-migration over the past 20 years. Read more.

Western Cape: The Western Cape’s real economy is dominated by manufacturing and commercial agriculture. As a result, while it did not benefit directly from the commodity boom, it has not suffered as much as more mining-dependent provinces from the downturn since 2011. Read more.