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South Africa Economy Recovers

FILE: Workers advertise their skills looking for work outside a hardware store in a Johannesburg suburb, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Latest economic figures show South Africa has rebounded.

South Africa's gross domestic product grew by 1.9 percent in the first quarter, returning the continent's most industrialized economy to pre-pandemic levels, official data showed Tuesday.

The nearly two percent GDP grown South Africa reported for 2022's first three months was the second consecutive quarter of upward movement, the official statistics agency StatsSA said.

"The size of the economy is now at pre-pandemic levels, with real GDP slightly higher than what it was before the Covid-19 pandemic," it said.

The report said manufacturing, finance, business services and trade made gains during the first quarter, while agriculture was subdued and mining and construction contracted.

On May 31, StatsSA said the unemployment rate had fallen for the first time in almost two years, declining to 34.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from 35.3 percent at the end of last year

It cautioned that the economic impact of devastating floods that struck KwaZulu-Natal province in the southeast of the country would only be reflected in the GDP results for the second quarter, due for release in September.

Africa's biggest industrialised economy has been badly hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, amplifying joblessness, poverty and inequality and exacerbating anti-foreigner sentiment.