South Africa: a rising star
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South Africa: a rising star


South Africa is a contradictory country. Its economy is the size of Poland's or Thailand's. It has income disparities similar to Brazil's. In population and wage rates, it's Argentina. But it spends three times more of GDP on public education than China and twice as much as the average of all emerging markets.

Infrastructure is first world. Medical care is still innovative and superb, although the best care is in the private sector. Internet cafés abound. The water from the taps is pure and tastes better than the bottled imports.

Corporate South Africa hums like a smooth turbine and operates to get results for shareholders, not the sons and daughters of cronies and tycoons. Labour productivity gains are double those of the US and unit labour costs are steady. The economy is three to four times more internationalized than Argentina's or Brazil's despite embargoes up to 1994.

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