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S.Africa economy shrinks in third quarter

South Africa’s economy contracted in the third quarter, the statistics authority said Tuesday, contrasting the uptick in growth in the previous quarter which saved it from recession.

The gross domestic product of Africa’s second biggest economy slid 0.6 percent as farming slipped into its third consecutive quarter of contraction, mining dropped 6.1 percent and manufacturing fell 3.9 percent in output, Statistics SA said in a statement.

This followed 3.2 percent GDP growth in the second quarter.

The South African economy has not fully recovered from the global financial crisis of 2008, dogged by high and rising debt, low growth and record-high unemployment over the last decade.

Pressure has been piling on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, which won elections in May with a pledge to revive the economy.

The African continent’s most industrialised country has ballooning national debt which exceeds 3.0 trillion rand ($200 billion) this year and was expected to rise to 4.5 trillion rand over the next three years.

The debt-to-GDP ratio stands at around 60.8 percent and is estimated to reach 71.3 percent in 2022-23, according to finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

The International Monetary Fund has urged more “decisive” reforms to boost private investment in South Africa, forecasting economic growth to remain sluggish for a sixth consecutive year in 2020.