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Structural shifts in the post-Apartheid SA economy

Structural shifts in the post-Apartheid SA economy
22 Jan 2018

In a recent tralac Working Paper, John Stuart examines structural shifts in the real economy of South Africa spanning the period from the mid 1990s to the end of the 2000s. The changes during this period were significant – South Africa made a bold offer to the WTO, the SACU agreement was renegotiated, the SADC Trade Protocol was concluded; and very importantly there was significant reform of domestic policy.

In order to establish a consistent basis for analysis, two identically-sized Social Accounting Matrices (SAMs) are compared. These SAMs offer as near a complete and consistent picture of the real South African economy as is possible. The internal consistency of a SAM (i.e. its capturing of the entire circular flow of value) makes it a valuable tool for analysis, and when two identical SAMs are available for different periods; valuable comparative data may be generated.

Results for changes to the main account totals in the macro SAM indicate that the largest increases are for high-skilled labour, capital and the government. Tertiary sector production activities are all above the median, whereas secondary production activities are below the median. This tells us that the manufacturing sector is in decline and the services sector is on the rise. The primary sector shows no change from the base year.

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