AROUND THE GLOBE—ONE CITY AT A TIME
BY SANDRA A. SWANSON
Population: The city’s 3. 2 million residents skew
young—with nearly half under the age of 34.
Language: English is the primary language of both
government and business and it is taught in all South
African schools. Other languages include Zulu, Swati,
Tswana and Afrikaans.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF JOHANNESBURG/ WALTER KNIRR
Johannesburg is a major business hub for all of
South Africa. The city is home to Africa’s largest
stock exchange and generates 16 percent of South
Africa’s GDP. For decades, mining has helped bolster the economy of the city and the surrounding
country. Many of Africa’s biggest mining companies,
including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., have their headquarters here.
The global credit crunch has squeezed South Africa’s
economy, however. The United States, Europe and
Japan—all in the midst of deep recessions—represent
about 60 percent of South Africa’s export market. In
January 2009, the country’s trade deficit hit a
record-high ZAR17.4 billion.
The mining industry has struggled, too. Some analysts suggest that 8 percent of South Africa’s mining
workers could lose their jobs, according to Reuters.
For decades, South Africa ranked as the world’s
leading gold producer, but China has snatched away
that title. In 2008, South Africa’s gold production
fell more than 13 percent, reaching its lowest level
Local government officials are responding with an
economic roadmap that puts the focus on service
sectors, such as IT and business tourism.
Currency: Rand (ZAR)
ZAR10 = JPY102.64
ZAR10 = ¤0.79
ZAR10 = US$1.05
for a slideshow of some of the projects
in the works to get Johannesburg ready
for the 2010 World Cup.