Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has revised upwards significantly the country’s economy by 11 percent following a rigorous benchmarking and rebasing process. Photo: Free Images
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has revised upwards significantly the country’s economy by 11 percent following a rigorous benchmarking and rebasing process. Photo: Free Images

StatsSA has revised the economy upwards by 11% after a rebasing process

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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STATISTICS South Africa (StatsSA) has revised upwards significantly the country’s economy by 11 percent following a rigorous benchmarking and rebasing process.

StatsSA today said the South African economy was actually 11 percent larger last year than previously estimated.

It said the revised estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) last year was R5 521 billion, an increase of 11 percent, compared with the previous estimate of R4 973bn.

However, South Africa’s economy lagged behind the powerhouses of Nigeria and Egypt in spite of the 11 percent upward revision, although it inched above Colombia on the world stage.

Egypt’s GDP in terms of purchasing power parity was $1 290bn, according to the World Bank’s estimate, higher than that of Nigeria’s $1 069bn and South Africa’s $717bn.

“Differences between previous and revised levels are a typical outcome of rebasing and benchmarking exercises,” StatsSA said.

“When Nigeria overhauled its GDP in 2014, it discovered that its economy was about 60 percent to 90 percent larger than previous estimates ... and closer to home, Botswana revised the size of its economy down by 10 percent.”

The statistics agency has overhauled the way it measures the economy by rebasing and benchmarking its GDP, in line with international standards and best practice.

During this rebasing process, StatsSA included new sources of information, improved the compilation methodology, reviewed and refined the classification of economic activities, and updated the reference year from 2010 to 2015.

The improvements in methodology and classification resulted in economic activity being more accurately linked to the industry in which the activity takes place.

StatsSA also revised the annual GDP growth rate for 2020 from -7 percent to -6.4 percent, saying the economy did not contract as badly as had been thought.

Next month, StatsSA will publish the GDP for the second quarter of this year in which the headline GDP growth rate will no longer be annualised.

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