B1 Intermediate 689 Folder Collection
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Before and after the 1994 abolition of apartheid, South Africa was two very different countries.
In the former, whites and non-whites were segregated, with many black residents forced
out of their homes and denied citizenship. Since then, South Africa has flourished economically,
but still struggles from extreme xenophobia, high income inequality, and rising crime.
So how powerful is South Africa today?
Well, in terms of sheer size, South Africa is both the 25th largest and most populous
country in the world, with about 53 million residents spread across nearly half a million
square miles. That’s about as big and populous as two Texases, back to back. South Africa’s
large population is also one of the most diverse in the world, with no fewer than 11 official
languages recognized by the constitution. In fact, famed political activist, and ex-President
of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, called it the “Rainbow Nation”, to describe the
post-apartheid diversity. Despite it’s dark, and sometimes violent past, South Africa is
one of the only African countries to have avoided a violent government takeover. Since
the country’s formation in 1910, they’ve held regular elections, although for much
of their history, voting was limited to the white minority population.
Economically, South Africa is considered an upper-middle income economy. It is rapidly
industrializing, with the second largest GDP in Africa at $366 billion dollars a year.
It is also one of the world’s top mining countries, producing more than three quarter’s
of the world’s platinum, along with massive coal, gold, and diamond mines. However, Africa
also suffers from one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. One in
four South Africans are unemployed and nearly half live in poverty.
In spite of these factors, South Africa’s military is rather robust. Ranked 32nd in
the world, they host nearly 90,000 active troops, with a defense budget of about four
and a half billion. But the most interesting aspect of South Africa’s military is their
relationship with nuclear weapons.
In the 1980s, South Africa developed half a dozen nuclear weapons. But in 1989, two
years before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the South African government voluntarily
dismantled all of its nuclear weapons in an attempt to bring stability to the Southern
African region. It was the first nation to ever do so. They also lead the rest of Africa
in the creation of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, an agreement throughout the continent
to prohibit research, development, and possession of nuclear weapons. These efforts helped establish
South Africa as a major player in the international community.
South Africa has made significant strides since the abolition of apartheid, but inequality
is still rampant. With attacks on foreigners on the rise, job scarcity, an HIV/AIDS epidemic,
and high crime, the country may need to modernize even more rapidly than they already have been.
So how powerful is South Africa? Well… they’re working on it.
South Africa has seen a recent rise in violence against immigrants and minorities in recent
years. To learn more about the issue, check out our video here.
In the country with 25% unemployment rate along with extreme high crime rate,
immigrants are an easy target for local frustration
One study found that among police officers, 87% believe that
many of the country undocumented immigrants were criminal despite no statistic supporting that accusation.
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How Powerful Is South Africa?

689 Folder Collection
羅紹桀 published on March 25, 2016    brieven translated    Kiara reviewed
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