n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - Can South Africa sustain and diversify its exports?




The aim of this paper is to examine the diversification of South Africa's exports over the period 1994 to 2012. A decomposition of export growth shows that exports of non-fuel primary commodities as well as medium-skill and technology-intensive manufactured products increased. The largest decrease was in the export of resource-intensive manufactures. These changes reflect South Africa's endowment of relatively low levels of physical and human capital. The analysis shows that export products that are further from the country's comparative advantage, make smaller contributions to growth in the intensive margin. It clearly shows the challenge of sustainably diversifying the export basket.


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