South Africa. Land of untold riches, abundant natural resources, breathtaking nature and a dynamic culture. Are you already serving customers in this vibrant nation?

Now, Recurly merchants doing business in South Africa will be able to process their transactions in the South African Rand (ZAR) using Cybersource or Worldpay. Read on to learn more about South Africa’s demographics, economy, and how it may be poised for tremendous growth.  

With a population of nearly 53 million and the second-largest economy in Africa, South Africa has 24.9 million active Internet users and a whopping 79.1 million mobile connections. Indeed, mobile is the primary means by which South Africans access the Internet.

As in other markets, expanded access to the Internet and the explosive growth in smart devices is broadening consumers’ access to digital content, with social media, entertainment, playing games, shopping and location-based searches being the top five Internet activities for South Africans (according to While traditional (non-digital) media is still dominant, most of the growth in spending is expected to come from the digital space, according to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s survey, “South African entertainment and media outlook: 2013-2017.”

Indeed, recent research conducted by the consultancy World Wide Worx showed that the Internet economy currently contributes two percent to South Africa’s GDP or 59 billion Rand (over $4.4 billion). This number is rising by around 0.1 percent a year and should reach 2.5 percent by 2016. As well, when it comes to Internet usage, South Africa ranks third on the continent, with 49% of individuals using the Internet, according to Fin24.

While the South African economy has struggled, as have so many other economies after the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the World Bank has projected that the growth of South Africa’s working-age population could bolster its economic growth to 5.4 percent a year, doubling the per capita income by 2030.

In terms of demographics, South Africa is undergoing a profound shift, according to the seventh edition of the South Africa Economic Update, as reported by the World Bank. In the last 20 years, the working age population has grown by 11 million, comprising 65% of the overall population in 2015. The working age population is expected to grow by another nine million in the next 50 years.

All these factors bode well for a “demographic window of opportunity” in the South African economy as a whole and for e-commerce companies looking to expand their business in the country.

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