S.African economy shrunk by 7% in 2020

South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) recorded a 1.5 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, and expanded 6.3 per cent quarter on quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis in the same quarter, official data revealed.

Data published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday revealed that manufacturing and trade helped lift growth in the fourth quarter, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the positive growth recorded in the third and fourth quarters was not enough to offset the devastating impact of Covid-19 in the second quarter when lockdown restrictions were at their most stringent, it said.

Stats SA added that economic activity for 2020 decreased by 7 per cent compared to 2019.

Prof. Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said the growth in the fourth quarter was expected as the economy was no longer in lockdown.

Rossouw said the decline of the growth meant that “it will take three years for the growth to recover from the 2020 disaster.”

Stats SA said the country’s economic growth was struggling to keep up with the population growth.

“GDP per capita decreased in 2020 to a level last seen in 2005.”

Rossouw said the declined per capita GDP means more South Africans had became poorer.