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South Africa's Growth Revival After 1994


  • Stan Du Plessis
  • Ben Smit


This paper aims to describe, identify underlying factors and seek explanations for South Africa's economic recovery since 1994, as evidenced by trends in growth and investment. Compared with an international peer group, the initial conditions for a dramatic growth recovery were inauspicious in 1994. Growth accounting methods are applied to distinguish the relative contributions of capital, labour and total factor productivity (TFP) to the growth revival, employing a broader range of measures for the contribution of labour at the aggregate level than used previously, and data of a more recent vintage. Sectoral developments since 1997 are also analysed using growth accounting. We find that TFP growth accounts for 50% or more of South Africa's economic recovery, with the result mainly holding at the sectoral level too. Examination of empirical studies suggests that this result is primarily explained by openness to trade and capital flows, lower uncertainty and lower interest rates. Finally we consider policy implications. Copyright 2007 The author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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  • Stan Du Plessis & Ben Smit, 2007. "South Africa's Growth Revival After 1994," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 668-704, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:16:y:2007:i:5:p:668-704

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Ravallion, 2003. "Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 645-652, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin S. Nell & Maria M. De Mello, 2015. "Testing Capital Accumulation-Driven Growth Models in a Multiple-Regime Framework: Evidence from South Africa," CEF.UP Working Papers 1501, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Ewert P. J. Kleynhans & Sibulele Zwedala, 2012. "The Contribution of FDI, Technology and R&D to Spillovers in Industrial Development: A South African Firm-Level Investigation," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 10(4 (Winter), pages 341-359.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2008. "South Africa; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 08/347, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Jørn Rattsø & Hildegunn e. Stokke, 2007. "A Growth Model For South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(4), pages 616-630, December.
    5. Roula INGLESI-LOTZ & Renee VAN EYDEN & Charlotte DU TOIT, 2014. "The evolution and contribution of technological progress to the South African economy: Growth accounting and Kalman filter application," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(1), pages 175-188.
    6. Tania Ajam & Aron Janine, 2007. "Fiscal Renaissance in a Democratic South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 745-781, November.
    7. Luc Eyraud, 2009. "Why isn't South Africa Growing Faster? a Comparative Approach," IMF Working Papers 09/25, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Tania Ajam & Aron Janine, 2007. "Fiscal Renaissance in a Democratic South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 745-781, November.

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