South Africa has risen to the ranks of upper-middle income countries and the country’s economy is the largest in Africa. It is rich in mineral resources; mining has been the driving force behind South Africa’s economic growth and it is the world’s largest producer of gold, platinum, and chromium. Agriculture contributes just 2.4 percent of GDP, and employs approximately 10 percent of the South African workforce.
Despite the country’s strong economic performance, poverty remains a serious challenge. As of May 2013, the official unemployment rate stands at 25 percent, although some estimates put the figure closer to 40 percent.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the world, with black Africans disproportionately living in poverty. The latest census, released in 2012, found that the annual incomes of black South Africans were less than one-sixth the annual incomes of whites.