In order to assess South Africa by its geographical distance, the main aspects of the country that should be looked at are population, natural features, transportation, and communication. As for the population, South Africa’s overall population consists of approximately 51.2 million people. The surrounding countries and populations are: Namibia with 2.259 million, Botswana consisting of 2.004 million, Zimbabwe with 13.72 million, Mozambique with 25 million, 1 million people in Swaziland, and in Lesotho, which is located inside of South Africa, has a population of about 2 million people. South Africa has three capitals which are Cape Town (3.74 million people), Pretoria (692,348 people), and Bloemfontein (350,504 people). Two other well known South African cities are Durban (population of 3.648 million) and Johannesburg (population of 752,349). Compared to the United States capital Washington D.C. with a population of 632, 323 people, the total of the three capitals of South Africa have over 4.5 million people. The actual physical distance between the U.S. and South Africa is 8,941 miles which is a huge distance when trying to ship items to and from each country.
Being the 25th largest country at 471,000sq miles, the physical geography of South Africa is rather diverse; from the coastline communities near 0 meters above sea level, to those on the central plateau at around 1000 meters above sea level. In Johannesburg, the average temperatures vary from highs of around in the December summer months of 77F, and are at their lowest in the wintery months around July of 38F. South Africa has eight major biomes that produce a broad range of ecological life areas with distinctive environmental conditions, that ultimately leads to the diversity of natural resources and agriculture that is able to be produced. Agriculture maintains 10% of employment. Principal products include maize, sugarcane, fruits, potatoes and livestock products. Near Bathurst, there is what’s known as ‘The Big Pineapple’, which is used to promote the pineapple industry. Due to sporadic seasonal rains, annual production varies significantly from year to year. South Africa’s wine industry produces over 1.5 million tonnes of grapes on over 100,000 hectares of land South Africa is home to a bounty of natural resources. Originally the backbone of South Africa, now only 14% of industry is based around primary production of goods. However, South Africa has some of world’s most precious ores, ranging from coal and iron, to chromium, platinum and diamonds. In fact, South Africa is the largest producer of platinum and chromium. South Africa is still developing in terms of power supply, meaning that 77% of power stations are coal powered, leading to the consumption of 43% of the 255 million tonnes of coal mined domestically. Three quarters of the coal produced is consumed domestically, and around 90% of it stays on the African continent.
Now for transportation, the traffic and road conditions in South Africa, for the most part, are good. Most major roads are paved and 30% of all roads are paved. Public transportation is able to be used by customers, suppliers, and employees. Many different forms, including busses, taxis, and rental cars can be used, although not advised. Although transportation and roads aren’t the strongest point of South Africa, they are growing and working toward improvement. Investments such as the National Master Plan promote a better future for traffic and road conditions in South Africa. Air and Water transportation are important in both the US and SA. SA relies on its costal ports to import and export many of its goods. As well as its air ports that account for most of its small imports and exports. There are not nearly as many ports and harbors in SA as there are in the US, but that is most likely because the US has more coastal land. The US has a big advantage over SA as it pertains to inland water ways, because the US has the Mississippi water way which is huge for water transportation within the US.
Communication infrastructure is very important when it comes to all kinds of businesses. Especially international business. South Africa has good opportunities to become a communication based society. During the past one and a half decades, SA’s technological growth has expended tremendously. Today’s communication associations, under ground/sea cable systems and accessibility to new technology will make it possible for the SA population to develop into a high standard county as far as technology is concerned.
After looking at all of the aspects of South Africa’s geographical distance from the United States, it is important to review all of the strengths of the country. First, the population of South Africa is around 51.2 million people. Compared to the U.S.’s population of 313.9 million, South Africa may seem small, but some cities would be a good fit for an international business. Cities with populations similar to those of Cape Town and Durban are inhabited enough to support a new business. Even the less populated cities have high numbers of people. Second, South Africa’s physical geographical strengths include the vast range of environments, agricultural industry being responsible for 10% of employment, and there is an abundance of natural resources (coal, iron, chromium, platinum and diamonds). Next, transportation is huge for a business to ship its products to buyers and importing its materials needed to make those products. The fact that South Africa has access to the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans makes over sea shipping a favorable mode of transportation. Because of the access to both oceans, there are many ports and harbors located around the coasts of South Africa. Most main roads in the country are in good condition which makes transportation by truck and trailer a reasonable mode of transferring goods and materials. Shipping by air is also a probable way to transfer smaller and/or lighter items to and from countries/cities. Lastly, communication methods are improving rapidly in South Africa. As previously stated, the number of South Africans who have cell phones is growing. Communication Associations, access to networks (data cables) and internet usage (social media) are the main methods credited with the rise in ease of communication between international and local entities.
In conclusion, it is evident that South Africa is still a growing country that is a good way from being as advanced as the United States. There are lots of strengths, but it is obvious that some weaknesses exist also. Even though South Africa isn’t as advanced as the U.S., it is easy to say that there is potential for an international business to succeed in the area.