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For those fans who want to learn more about World Cup host nation South Africa, Goal.com presents a list of interesting facts which shed some light on a very interesting and impressive nation.

Economy

1. The Rand was the best performing currency against the US Dollar between 2002 and 2005. (Bloomberg Currency Scoreboard)

2. South Africa has 55,000 high net-wealth individuals holding at least US$1million in financial assets. (World Wealth Report 2008)

3. South Africa has the 27th biggest economy in the world, with a Gross Domestic Product of US$254 billion. (World Bank)


Johannesburg Stock Exchange

4. South Africa accounts for almost 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent, with an economy more than twice the size of the second biggest – Algeria. (World Bank)

5. Gauteng (where Johannesburg and Pretoria are situated) is South Africa’s smallest province but produces 34% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product. (Stats SA)

6. The JSE Securities Exchange is the 14th largest equities exchange in the world, with a total market capitalisation of some R2.3 trillion. (JSE)

Infrastructure

1. South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa’s electricity. (Eskom)

2. Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto is the biggest hospital in the world. (Wikipedia)

3. Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.


Durban Harbour

4. There are 39 million cell phone users in South Africa (International Telecommunication Union)

Tourism

1. The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown by 200% since 1994, to over 9 million in 2007. (Dept of Environment and Tourism)

2. The Singita game reserve was voted the best hotel in the world by the readers of a leading travel magazine. (Conde Nast Traveller)

3. The world's best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus in the Western Cape.

4. In 2002, South Africa was the world’s fastest growing tourist destination. In 2006, South Africa’s tourism grew at three times the global average.


Clifton Beach - Cape Town

Sport

1. South Africa hosts the largest timed cycle race in the world (the Cape Argus Cycle Tour), the world's oldest and largest ultra-marathon (the Comrades Marathon) and the world's largest open water swimming event (the Midmar Mile).

2. South Africa will become the first African country to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010 … and only the second country in the world to have hosted the Cricket, Rugby and football World Cups.

3. Since the 1940s, South African golfers have won more golf majors than any other nation, apart from the United States.


Golf Course On The Garden Route

4. In 1994, South Africa won 11 medals in the Commonwealth Games. In 2002, that number 46 medals were won.

Learning And Teaching

1. South Africa houses one of the three largest telescopes in the world at Sutherland in the Karoo.

2. South Africa is the first, and to date the only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme.

3. South Africa's Constitution is widely regarded as being one of the most progressive in the world, drawing from the experiences of the world’s most advanced democracies.


Supreme Court Of Appeal

4. The South African oil company Sasol has established the only commercially viable oil-from-coal operations in the world.

5. Two of the world's most profoundly compassionate philosophies originated in South Africa – Ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity) and Gandhi's notion of "passive resistance" (Satyagraha), which he developed while living in South Africa.

Education

1. Almost a quarter of South Africa’s non-interest budget is spent on education.

2. The University of South Africa UNISA is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is the largest correspondence university in the world with 250,000 students.

3. The first MBA programme outside of the United States was started by the University of Pretoria in 1949. (Gordon Institute of Business Science)

Social

1. Over 13 million South Africans (a quarter of the population) have access to social grants. (Department of Social Development)

2. Since 1994, 500 houses have been built each day for the poor and 1,000 houses per day have received electricity.

3. Seventy per cent of South Africa’s population is urbanised.

Environmental

1. The Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.


Kruger National Park

2. The Cango Caves near Oudsthoorn is the world’s longest underground cave sequence.

3. South Africa is the only country to house an entire floral kingdom (fynbos), one of only six on the planet.

4. In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White shark.


Natal Sharks Board

5. South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, at the Vredefort Dome near Parys. The scar is two billion years old.

6. South Africa has embraced the concept of trans-frontier ‘peace parks’, linking ecological reserves across national borders.

General

1. The Western Deep Levels is the world’s deepest mine at 3,777 metres.

2. South Africa has the world’s largest deposits of gold, chromium, platinum and manganese.

3. The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.

4. South African Breweries (SABMiller) ranks as the second largest brewing company in the world. It supplies up to 50% of China's beer, and owns Castle Lager, Peroni and Miller.

These facts have been provided by South Africa: The Good News www.sagoodnews.co.za

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