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When South Africa celebrated its first decade of postapartheid government, it had rejoined the commonwealth and a number of international bodies. The ANC was returned to power for a third term in April 2004 with 70 percent of the vote. Some progress had been made toward racial equality despite inequities in the distribution of wealth. However, South Africa continued to grapple with the legacy of apartheid—high unemployment, low literacy rates, inadequate housing, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the dynamics of globalization. In the early twenty-first century the unemployment rate was estimated at 38 to 40 percent. According to the South African Survey 1999, one-third of South Africans needed adequate housing. The HIV rate in prenatal clinics was 22.8 percent in 1998.

South Africa is not viewed as competitive in global production due to high labor costs. A number of mining and manufacturing enterprises have established branches in other African countries. The government seeks to attract new investment and to enhance the skills of its black labor force. With regard to the Internet, in the early twenty-first century South Africa was the best-wired country in Africa.


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Betty J. Harris

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Anticolonialism in Southeast Asia - Categories And Features Of Anticolonialism to Ascorbic acidApartheid - Historical Background, Rise Of Afrikaner Nationalism, Black Resistance, Apartheid Legislation, Gender Issues, Nelson Mandela