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Real Economy Yearbook 2017

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There is now no question that South Africa’s poisonous political environment is having a toxic effect on the real economy. Despite more supportive exogenous conditions for agriculture and mining, the country has nevertheless descended into its first recession in eight years. Indeed, the shift from external to internal causes is the key difference between the current recession and the one in 2009. Back then, the economic slump, which resulted in a million jobs having been shed domestically, was precipitated by a global financial crisis that had its origins in US’s subprime housing crisis. This time, the pain is mostly self-inflicted and driven primarily by ongoing political tensions and growth-sapping policy uncertainty. That said, parts of the economy continue to show resilience in the face of political headwinds. Some of this hardiness is reflected in this edition of the Real Economy Yearbook, which confirms the difficulties, but offers insight into those areas where there are signs of improvement.

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