"Over a decade after the South African majority gained its independence from white minority rule under apartheid, a system of racial segregation, the Republic of South Africa is firmly established as a regional power. With Africa's largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a diverse economy, and a government that has played an active role in the promotion of regional peace and stability, South Africa is poised to have a substantial impact on the economic and political future of Africa. The country is twice the size of Texas and has a population of almost 50 million, of which about 80% is African and 10% white. Its political system is regarded as stable, but South Africa faces serious long-term challenges arising from poverty, unemployment, and AIDS. President Thabo Mbeki resigned in September 2008 and was replaced by interim President Kgalema Motlanthe. South Africa's most recent elections were held on April 22, 2009. […]. South Africa is considered to be one of the United States' two strategic partners on the continent, along with Nigeria. Bilateral relations are cordial, however, the U.S. and South African administrations have expressed differences with respect to the situations in Zimbabwe, Iran, and Iraq, and U.S. officials have articulated frustration with the South African government on positions it took while serving on the United Nations Security Council. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31697