Why South Africa?
South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the second largest economy in Africa after Nigeria. It has borders with the Indian and Atlantic oceans as well as with Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north.
The country is multi-ethnic with a diversity of cultures and 11 official languages recognised by the Constitution.
Although South Africa is considered one of only four upper-middle-income economies in Africa, economic growth has slowed to a stubborn 3,5% and unemployment stands at 29%. The country faces extreme income inequality with the top 1% of South African earners taking home about 20% of all income in the country, while the top 10% take home 65% home.
Service delivery in terms of public education and health are enormous challenges for South Africa and government and facilities lack resources and are understaffed, particularly in the rural areas.
As one of the most biodiverse countries in the world (with 20 000 plant species) with a large variety of wildlife including the largest rhino population on the continent, tourism is a significant source of revenue. However organised poaching is rife and the country is losing its natural environment to over-development and over population resulting in deforestation and the rampant invasion of alien plant species.
Footprint in Mpumalanga
Africa Foundation is working with 23 communities in the Mpumalanga Province, bordering the famous Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve.
Mpumalanga means ‘Place where the Sun Rises’ and attracts people for its magnificent scenery, fauna and flora.
The Province is home to just over 4 million people. Approximately 15% of the population are living with HIV/AIDS, making it the second worst affected Province after KwaZulu Natal.
Employment is found in the sectors of agriculture, mining and tourism, however unemployment rates are high.
Footprint in KwaZulu Natal
KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is home to 19.9% of South Africa’s population, making it the second most populated province after Gauteng.
KZN has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country at 25.8% compared to the national prevalence of 13.5%. Unemployment stats for the first quarter of 2019 indicate that KZN has 42.4% unemployment, much higher than the national average.
KZN consists of 10 District Municipalities. Africa Foundation works in 5 communities within the uMkhanyakude District. Due to the landscape of this region and its numerous conservation parks, the Districts key economic sectors are tourism, trade and agriculture.
The communities in which we work are characterised by poor infrastructure, particularly in the areas of water, electricity sewage, sanitation and solid waste services, and poor education outcomes with only one third of the population achieving their high school ‘Matric’ qualification and fewer than 10% accessing tertiary level education. More than half of households are female-headed and almost 30% are informal structures.