Information by Country

South Africa: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
South Africa has transformed and is rapidly emerging as a new society of energy and significance.  Political violence has ceased and there is a sense of optimisim and hope among all communities as they build a new nation. The country is fortunate to have a good infrastructure and diversified economy. It has made significant gains in improving the provision of basic services, such as water and sanitation, and reforming the education system, since its first democratic elections almost a decade ago.

However, income distribution in the country is among the most unequal in the world. In 1996, almost 57 per cent of the population were living in poverty, and of these, two thirds were Africans. Racial inequalities do persist, with white per capita income being almost nine times higher than that of Africans.


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