South Africa in brief

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South Africa in brief

Nozuko Gloria Bam

South African Ambassador to Korea

Like most young people in her country, Nozuko Gloria Bam was influenced by many life experiences of black South Africans and thus became active in student politics. Following the principles Nelson Mandela stood for, Bam has been serving the South African government since 1994, occupying numerous job titles from junior official to senior manager. Her career has largely been about serving South Africans and protecting national democratic values anchored on the philosophy of Ubuntu, an Nguni Bantu term referring to human kindness, which includes ethics widely cherished today: non-racialism, non-sexism and respect for human rights.

South Africa in brief

Capitals: Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town

Major cities: Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth

Official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

Population: 54 million

Religion: About 76 percent Christian, others include Hindu, Muslim, etc.

Area: 471,443 square miles

Number of Korean expats: About 5,000

Strong diplomatic ties

Formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Korea were established on Dec. 1, 1992. A significant attempt to structure bilateral relations led to the establishment of a Policy Consultative Forum between the two countries in April 1997. This year marks the 23rd year of bilateral diplomatic relations.

High trade volume

Total trade between South Africa and Korea stood at $3 billion at the end of 2014. Bilateral trade is dominated on both sides by a few products and commodities that are exported in large quantities. South African exports comprise mainly minerals, agro-processing goods and citrus, while major imports from Korea include automotive and electronic products.

Growing investment

In 2014, there were a number of foreign direct investment projects undertaken by Korean companies in the sectors of automotive, electronics, plastic, rubber and transportation. Recently, a number of Korean financial service companies have also opened offices in South Africa, while many other companies in this sector have mentioned their intentions to do so.

Adventurous tourism

The tourism industry in South Africa is strong on adventure, wildlife and history. Kruger National Park invites millions of tourists each year to an authentic safari experience in one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Cape Town was ranked by National Geographic as the world's second-best beach city earlier this year, and eight locations in the country are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites, including Robben Island, the Vredefort Dome, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park and the Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs.

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