"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 superpower and is considered to be one of the United States' two strategic partners on the continent, along with Nigeria. With Africa's largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a government eager to play 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. South Africa, twice the size of Texas, has a population of 44 million, of which about 79% is African and 10% white, and a diverse economy. The South African political system is regarded as stable, but it faces serious long-term challenges arising from poverty, unemployment, and the AIDS epidemic. […] 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 has taken while serving on the United Nations Security Council. This report will be updated as events warrant. Related CRS [Congressional Research Service] reports include CRS Report RL33584, 'AIDS in Africa', by Nicolas Cook; CRS Report RL32723, 'Zimbabwe', and CRS Report RL34509, 'Zimbabwe: 2008 Elections', by Lauren Ploch; as well as CRS Report RL31772, 'U.S. Trade and Investment Relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa: The African Growth and Opportunity Act and Beyond' and CRS Report RS21387, 'United States-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Background and Potential Issues', by Danielle Langton."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31697