You are on page 1of 20


ENVIRONMENTAL/ GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES Almost all of Mexico lies in the North American Plate, with small parts of the Baja California peninsula on the Pacific and Cocos Plates.Geophysically, some geographers include the territory east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (around 12% of the total) within Central America.[107] Geopolitically, however, Mexico is entirely considered part of North America, along with Canada and the United States Mexico's total area is 1,972,550 km2 (761,606 sq mi), making it the world's 14th largest country by total area, and includes approximately 6,000 km2 (2,317 sq mi) of islands in the Pacific Ocean (including the remote Guadalupe Island and the Revillagigedo Islands), Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Gulf of California. From its farthest land points, Mexico is a little over 2,000 mi (3,219 km) in length. On its north, Mexico shares a 3,141 km (1,952 mi) border with the United States. The meandering Ro Bravo del Norte (known as the Rio Grande in the United States) defines the border from Ciudad Jurez east to the Gulf of Mexico. A series of natural and artificial markers delineate the United States-Mexican border west from Ciudad Jurez to the Pacific Ocean. On its south, Mexico shares an 871 km (541 mi) border with Guatemala and a 251 km (156 mi) border with Belize. Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental, which are the extension of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America. From east to west at the center, the country is crossed by the TransMexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur, runs from Michoacn to Oaxaca.[109] As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are located at high altitudes, and the highest elevations are found at the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba (5,700 m, 18,701 ft), Popocatepetl (5,462 m, 17,920 ft) and Iztaccihuatl (5,286 m, 17,343 ft) and the Nevado de Toluca (4,577 m, 15,016 ft). Three major urban agglomerations are located in the valleys between these four elevations: Toluca,Greater Mexico City and Puebla.[109]

SOCIO/CULTURAL Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain, imparted during Spain's 300-year colonization

of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements mainly from the United States have been incorporated into Mexican culture.[citation needed] The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Daz himself. Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, Jos Vasconcelos in his publication La Raza Csmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of themestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well.[218] This exalting of mestizaje was a revolutionary idea that sharply contrasted with the idea of a superior pure race prevalent in Europe at the time POLITICAL FACTORS The politics of Mexico take place in a framework of a federal presidential representative democratic republic whose government is based on acongressional system, whereby the president of Mexico is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The federal governmentrepresents the United Mexican States and is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial, as established by the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, published in 1917. The constituent states of the federation must also have a republican form of government based on a congressional system as established by their respective constitutions. The executive power is exercised by the executive branch, which is headed by the President, advised by a cabinet of secretaries that are independent of the legislature. Legislative power is vested upon the Congress of the Union, a two-chamber legislature comprising the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Judicial power is exercised by the judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the Council of the Federal Judiciary and the collegiate, unitary and district tribunals. The politics of Mexico are dominated by three political parties: National Action Party (PAN), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Numerous electoral reforms implemented after 1989 aided in the opening of the Mexican political system, and opposition parties made historic gains in elections at all levels. Many of the current electoral concerns have shifted from outright fraud to campaign fairness issues. During 1995-96 the political parties negotiated constitutional amendments to address these issues. Implementing legislation included major points of consensus that had been worked

out with the opposition parties. The thrust of the new laws has public financing predominate over private contributions to political parties, tightens procedures for auditing the political parties, and strengthens the authority and independence of electoral institutions. The court system also was given greatly expanded authority to hear civil rights cases on electoral matters brought by individuals or groups. In short, the extensive reform efforts have "leveled the playing field" for the parties. The 2006 elections saw the PRI fall to third place behind both the PAN and the PRD. Roberto Madrazo, the presidential candidate, polled only 22.3 percent of the vote, and the party ended up with only 121 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, a loss of more than half of what the party had obtained in 2003, and 38 Senate seats, a loss of 22. Nevertheless, at the state level, more states are still governed by PRI than by the rest of the parties. ECONOMY Mexico has the 13th largest nominal GDP and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity. GDP annual average growth for the period of 19952002 was 5.1%.[57] Foreign debt decreased to less than 20% of GDP.[57] From 2000 to 2004, the population in poverty has decreased from 24.2% to 17.6% in the general population and from 42% to 27.9% in rural areas.[114] Since the late 1990s, the majority of the population has been part of the growing middle class.[115] The Mexican economy is expected to nearly triple by 2020.[116] According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico will have the 5th largest economy in the world.[117] According to a 2008 UN report the average income in a typical urbanized area of Mexico was $26,654, a rate higher than advanced nations likeSouth Korea or Taiwan, while the average income in rural areas just miles away was only $8,403, a rate comparable to developing countries such as Russia or Turkey.[118] Daily minimum wages are set annually by law and determined by zone; $57.46 Mexican pesos ($5.75 USD) in Zona A (Baja California, Federal District, State of Mexico, and large cities), $55.84 Mexican pesos ($5.59 USD) in Zone B (Sonora, Nuevo Len, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Jalisco), and $54.47 Mexican pesos ($5.45 USD) in Zone C (all other states)[119] In 2006, trade with the United States and Canada accounted for almost 50% of its exports and 45% of its imports.[2] During the first three quarters of 2010, the United States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico.[120] In August 2010 Mexico surpassed France to became the 9th largest holder of US debt.[121] The commercial and financial dependence on the US is a cause for concern.[122] The remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account for 0.2% of Mexico's GDP[123] which was equal to US$20 billion dollars per year in 2004 and is the tenth largest source of foreign income after oil, industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry, automobiles, construction, food, banking

and financial services.[124] According to Mexico's central bank, remittances in 2008 amounted to $25bn.[125] Mexico is the largest North American auto-producing nation, recently surpassing Canada and the U.S.[126] The industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some research and development activities.[127] The "Big Three" (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen and Nissan built their plants in the 1960s.[128] In Puebla alone, 70 industrial part-makers cluster around Volkswagen.[127] The relatively small domestic car industry is represented by DINA S.A., which has built buses and trucks for almost half a century,[129] and the new Mastretta company that builds the high performance Mastretta MXT sports car.[130] Foreign firms such as MD Helicopters and Bombardier build helicopters and commercial jets respectively in Mexico.[131][132] A percentage of American-branded home appliances are actually of Mexican origin but sold under local brand names.[133] As of 2008, one out of every four consumer appliances sold in the United States was of Mexican origin.[134][135] In 2010, Mexico had 86 companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list.[136] Mexico is the first and only Latin American country to be included in the World Government Bond Index or WGBI, which list the most important global economies that circulate government debt bonds. TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS: At the last meeting of the EU-Mexico Joint Committee, Cooperation in Science & Technology was specifically designated as the 4th pillar for bilateral cooperation, highlighting he considerable importance attached by the Mexicans to the reinforcement of their S&T capacity and to the performance of their knowledge and learning systems. Mexico's interest in the S&T Agreement was formally reiterated. Clearly, the Mexican Government has decided to pursue a strategy of internationalisation of its knowledge & learning system, possibly by reducing its presently excessive dependence on the USA. Enhanced S&T Cooperation with the European Union has therefore potential geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences, both for Mexico and for the Union. The scientific quality of Mexico's output is beyond doubt, as is the excellence of a number of its contributions to world science. However, the contribution of Mexico's S&T system to societal development has been hampered by two main factors, namely : Lack of demand-driven technological support institutions, with the associated centralized control by federal agencies and an overemphasis on the supply of S&T services versus incentives for articulation of demand; and, Relatively narrow definition of individual research programme objectives, possibly reflecting shorter term policy scenarios, sectoral research approaches and low levels of international S&T Cooperation.

The Government of Mexico is endeavouring to rescue these shortcomings by improving the performance of the knowledge & innovation system, promoting demand of technology by SMEs, increasing the effectiveness of investment in research and related human capital formation, providing stability to and consolidating research centres and implementing reform in the higher education system. To this extent, Mexico has decided to reinforce its S&T investment (US $ 1,685 million for the period 1998-2000) by requesting a loan from the World Bank for a "Knowledge and Innovation Project". This 5- year project, with a total cost of US$ 663 million, benefits from a US$ 300 million loan from the WB. LEGAL FACTORS: Mexico does, in fact, enjoy a highly evolved and organized legal system which with few exceptions is functional. The origins of Mexico's legal system are both ancient and classical, based on the Greek, Roman and French legal systems, and the Mexican system shares more in common with other legal systems throughout the world (especially those in Latin America and most of continental Europe) than does the U.S. legal system. U.S. business people and foreign owned corporations doing business in Mexico must directly and indirectly deal with the Mexican legal system, even if they do not have an actual business presence in Mexico. They might encounter Mexico's system through and international contract which they enter into with a Mexican company or individual, even if the contract is wholly performable in the U.S. Many such contracts are negotiated covering the distribution of products, the granting of franchises, or the transfer of technology, among other legal relationships. Accordingly, such business people should have at least a general working knowledge of the system. U.S. legal counsel with clients doing business in Mexico should have a more detailed knowledge of Mexican practices, laws and courts. All should understand that if they are to accomplish their objectives they must work within the system, not against it. This article is intended to be only a general discussion of Mexico's legal system. A comprehensive treatise of the topic would fill volumes. When discussing the structure of the court system in Mexico, one must distinguish between courts of "ordinary jurisdiction" (including, civil, commercial and criminal jurisdiction) and administrative courts or courts of "special jurisdiction". A. Courts of Ordinary Jurisdiction. Courts of ordinary jurisdiction include federal courts and state courts. At the federal level, the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion) is the highest court in the land and decides the most important cases in the country. Next in the authority and significance are the Circuit Courts (Colegiados de Circuito), which take up cases on appeal and amparo cases. Last are the District Courts (Juzgados de Distrito), which have jurisdiction over amparo cases in the first instance, and which function as courts of ordinary jurisdiction on matters of federal law, such as commercial law cases. State law establishes the structure and function of the courts in each sate in Mexico and such laws should be consulted on a state by state basis. However, in general terms, state courts are organized in the following manner: the highest appellate court is known as the Superior Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia); this court is followed by the Courts of First Instance (Tribunales de Primera Instancia) of ordinary jurisdiction charges with hearing civil,

criminal and commercial causes. (It is noteworthy that is commercial matters, dual jurisdiction exists where either federal or state courts of first instance can consider such matters.) Immediately below, are the minor courts of special jurisdiction, such as the family courts and bankruptcy courts (unlike in the U.S., where bankruptcy matters fall under the jurisdiction of federal bankruptcy courts). B. Administrative Courts. Administrative law in Mexico has grown so quickly as to make it difficult to control the diversification of administrative regulation in the different legal areas. The administrative courts are also classified as federal or state. At the federal level are the so called Federal Boards of Conciliation and Arbitration (Juntas Federales de Conciliacion y Arbitraje), which hear labor matters and are of great importance because Mexico's Federal Labor Law controls every employer employee relationship, the Court of Agrarian Justice (Tribunal de Justicia Agraria); the Court of Military Justice (Tribunal de Justicia Militar); the Court of Jurisdiction over the Electoral Process (Tribunal de Jurisdiccion de Proceso Electoral); and other special courts. Local administrative courts include the Administrative Court of Contentions (Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo), the Justice of the Peace Courts (Tribunales Calificadores) and others of minor importance. The tendency in Mexico's judicial system is to increase the base of specialized administrative justice more than so called ordinary justice. Administrative proceedings are faster than ordinary proceedings, simplified and normally help avoid confrontations between the parties, given that the state or some governmental agency is sued or brings a complaint or action in this type of proceeding. C. Litigation in Mexico. Generally, there is not as much civil litigation in Mexico as in the U.S. The main reasons for this fact are that in Mexico litigation is expensive, there are no punitive damage awards, parties must pay for their own attorney's fees and costs, and the litigation process is very lengthy. Accordingly, litigation in Mexico is not practical unless absolutely unavoidable to accomplish a vital business objective. Note that although there are no strictly punitive damage awards in Mexico, awards for "normal damages" (daos morales) are possible under certain circumstances set forth in the Civil Code. These awards, however, never amount to the astronomical figures often seen in U.S. decisions. Other characteristics of litigation in Mexico are that no jury trials, which is a fundamental right in most U.S. cases, formal, written declarations are used more frequently than the oral hearings commonly used in the U.S. courts; negotiation and mediation are encouraged, which is also a growing trend telephone calls or written communications. In U.S. litigation, the "discovery" process (gathering evidence) is monumentally significant, controlled primarily by attorneys, and constitutes much of the expense and time associated with litigation. In Mexico, however, the judge controls his process. Mexican judges have a much more active role in developing a case than do U.S. Judges. They help narrow the legal and factual issues, select witness and gather evidence. This may be a disadvantage if a party wants the lawyer to have more control over a case, as is the U.S. tradition. Excluding administrative proceedings, most litigation is settled for the above stated reasons

and because in Mexico, judgments are often difficult to enforce against even a solvent defendant, given that judgments can be contested in a separate amparo proceeding, which can drag on for several years. Further, in Mexico a party can file an interlocutory, or intermediate, appeal on evidentiary and other issues at various stages of a case. For obvious reasons, the authors recommend that people and companies doing business in Mexico avoid litigation by using creative and sincere negotiation; incorporating arbitration provisions into their contracts in case of irreconcilable conflicts; adequately securing obligations where possible; and, more importantly, knowing the parties with whom they are dealing. D. Criminial Law. Mexican criminal law has several interesting and distinctive features. In Mexico, one is deemed guilty until proven innocent. No death penalty exists in Mexico, a feature Mexico shares with most Latin American countries for historic reasons. In Mexico, the commission of fraud is a criminal offense, unlike most fraud in the U.S., which is usually considered a civil "tort". In virtually all Mexican prisons, prisoners are allowed regular conjugal visits, and greater freedoms within the confines of the prisons, than in most U.S. penitentiaries. Mexican law never allows parole or bail on personal recognizance. An individual charged with a criminal offense must post a financial bond to be released on bail, which may not be available if the potential sentence in years surpasses a certain limit under a formula set forth in Mexico's Constitution. People and companies doing business in Mexico, and attorneys who represent them, should take time to learn about Mexico's legal system and how it differs from the U.S. system. This learning process also encompasses the study of Mexico's interesting history and culture. The best source of information regarding specific legal questions is an experienced Mexican lawyer.

ENVIRONMENTAL/ GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 km (1,553 mi) and along two oceans (the South Atlantic and the Indian). At 1,219,912 km2 (471,011 sq mi),[56] South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world and is comparable in size to Colombia. Mafadi in the Drakensberg at 3,450 m (11,320 ft) is the highest peak in South Africa. Excluding the Prince Edward Islands, the country lies between latitudes 22 and 35S, and longitudes 16 and 33E. The interior of South Africa is a vast, flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, the Karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib desert. In contrast, the eastern coastline is lush and well-watered, which produces a climate similar to the tropics. To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the escarpment of the Highveld, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife.

East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian Ocean. It has particularly high temperatures, and is also the location of extended subtropical agriculture. South Africa also has one possession, the small sub-Antarctic archipelago of the Prince Edward Islands, consisting of Marion Island(290 km2/110 sq mi) and Prince Edward Island (45 km2/17 sq mi) (not to be confused with the Canadian province of the same name). South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder southern hemisphere and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north (towards the equator) and further inland. Due to this varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist. Winters in South Africa occur between June and August. The climatic zones vary, from the extreme desert of the southern Namib in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld. Even though South Africa is classified as semiarid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography. The extreme southwest has a climate remarkably similar to that of the Mediterranean with wet winters and hot, dry summers, hosting the famous Fynbos Biome of grassland and thicket. This area also produces much of the wine in South Africa. This region is also particularly known for its wind, which blows intermittently almost all year. The severity of this wind made passing around the Cape of Good Hope particularly treacherous for sailors, causing many shipwrecks. Further east on the south coast, rainfall is distributed more evenly throughout the year, producing a green landscape. This area is popularly known as the Garden Route. The Free State is particularly flat because it lies centrally on the high plateau. North of the Vaal River, the Highveld becomes better watered and does not experience subtropical extremes of heat. Johannesburg, in the centre of the Highveld, is at 1,740 m (5,709 ft) and receives an annual rainfall of 760 mm (29.9 in). Winters in this region are cold, although snow is rare. The high Drakensberg mountains, which form the south-eastern escarpment of the Highveld, offer limited skiing opportunities in winter. The coldest place in South Africa is Sutherland in the western Roggeveld Mountains, where midwinter temperatures can reach as low as 15 C (5 F). The deep interior has the hottest temperatures: a temperature of 51.7 C (125.06 F) was recorded in 1948 in the Northern Cape Kalahari near Upington.

SOCIO/CULTURAL South African culture is diverse; foods from many cultures are enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety of South African cuisine. In addition to food, music and dance feature prominently. South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbecue. South Africa has also developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl andBarrydale.[130] The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and Westernised, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue. There are smaller but still significant groups of speakers of Khoisan languages who are not included in the eleven official languages, but are one of the eight other officially recognised languages. There are small groups of speakers of endangered languages, most of which are from the Khoi-San family, that receive no official status; some groups within South Africa are attempting to promote their use and revival. Members of the middle class, who are predominantly white but whose ranks include growing numbers of black, coloured and Indian people, have lifestyles similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world. Asians, predominantly of Indian origin, preserve their own cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu or Sunni Muslimand speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Gujarati being spoken less frequently, but the majority of Indians being able to understand their mother tongue. The first Indians arrived on the famous Truro ship as indentured labourers in Natal to work the Sugar Cane Fields. There is a much smaller Chinesecommunity in South Africa, although its numbers have increased due to immigration from Republic of China (Taiwan). South Africa has also had a large influence in the Scouting movement, with many Scouting traditions and ceremonies coming from the experiences of Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting) during his time in South Africa as a military officer in the 1890s. The South African Scout Association was one of the first youth organisations to open its doors to youth and adults of all races in South Africa. This happened on 2 July 1977 at a conference known as Quo Vadis.[132] In 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage.

POLITICAL FACTORS South Africa is a parliamentary republic, although unlike most such republics the President is both head of state and head of government, and depends for his tenure on the confidence of Parliament. The executive, legislature and judiciary are all subject to the supremacy of theConstitution, and the superior courts have the power to strike down executive actions and acts of Parliament if they are unconstitutional. The National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, consists of 400 members and is elected every five years by a system of party-list proportional representation. In the most recent election, held on 22 April 2009, the African National Congress (ANC) won 65.9% of the vote and 264 seats, while the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) won 16.7% of the vote and 67 seats. The National Council of Provinces, the upper house, consists of ninety members, with each of the nine provincial legislatures electing ten members. After each parliamentary election, the National Assembly elects one of its members as President; hence the President serves a term of office the same as that of the Assembly, normally five years. No President may serve more than two terms in office. The President appoints a Deputy President and Ministers, who form the Cabinet. The President and the Cabinet may be removed by the National Assembly by a motion of no confidence. The judicial system consists of the magistrates' courts, which hear lesser criminal cases and smaller civil cases; the High Courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction for specific areas; the Supreme Court of Appeal, which is the highest court in all but constitutional matters; and theConstitutional Court, which hears only constitutional matters. South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town, as the seat of Parliament, is the legislative capital; Pretoria, as the seat of the President and Cabinet, is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein, as the seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal, is the judicial capital. The primary sources of South African law are Roman-Dutch mercantile law and personal law with English Common law, as imports of Dutch settlements and British colonialism.[39] The first European based law in South Africa was brought by the Dutch East India Company and is calledRoman-Dutch law. It was imported before the codification of European law into the Napoleonic Code and is comparable in many ways to Scots law. This was followed in the 19th century by English law, both common and statutory. Starting in 1910 with unification, South Africa had its own parliament which passed laws specific for South Africa, building on those previously passed for the individual member colonies. During the years of apartheid, the country's political scene was dominated by figures like B. J. Vorster and P. W. Botha, as well as opposition figures such asHarry Schwarz, Joe Slovo and Helen Suzman.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South African politics have been dominated by the African National Congress (ANC), which has been the dominant party with 6070% of the vote. The main challenger to the rule of the ANC is the Democratic Alliance. The National Party, which ruled from 1948 to 1994, renamed itself in 1997 to the New National Party, and chose to merge with the ANC in 2005. Other major political parties represented in Parliament are the Congress of the People, which split from the ANC and won 7.4% of the vote in 2009, and the Inkatha Freedom Party, which mainly represents Zulu voters and took 4.6% of the vote in the 2009 election. Since 2004, the country has had many thousands of popular protests, some violent, making it, according to one academic, the "most protest-rich country in the world".[40] Many of these protests have been organised from the growing shanty towns that surround South African cities. In 2008, South Africa placed 5th out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. South Africa scored well in the categories of Rule of Law,Transparency & Corruption and Participation & Human Rights, but was let down by its relatively poor performance in Safety & Security. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens. ECONOMY South Africa has a mixed economy with high rate of poverty and low GDP per capita. By UN classification South Africa is a middle-income country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the top twenty in the world[citation needed], and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the entire region. South Africa is ranked 25th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2008, and is considered a newly industrialized country.[citation needed] Advanced development is significantly localised around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth,Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg. Beyond these four economic centres, development is marginal and poverty is still prevalent despite government efforts. Consequently the vast majority of South Africans are poor, though key marginal areas have experienced rapid growth recently. Such areas include Mossel Bay toPlettenberg Bay; Rustenburg area; Nelspruit area; Bloemfontein; Cape West Coast; and the KwaZuluNatal North Coast. Unemployment is extremely high and South Africa is ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality,[62][63][64] measured by the Gini coefficient. During 19952003, the

number of formal jobs decreased and informal jobs increased; overall unemployment worsened.[35] The average South African household income decreased considerably between 1995 and 2000. Average white households were reported by Statistics South Africa in 1995 as earning four times as much as the average black household. In 2000 the average white household was earning six times more than the average black household.[65] The postapartheid government's official Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies are defined as acknowledging "the need for greater overall equity, including through collective ownership by workers and communities as well as skills development." In practice, however, BEE has drawn criticism from the Development Bank of Southern Africa's lead economist for focusing "almost exclusively on promoting individual ownership by black people (which) does little to address broader economic disparities, though the rich may become more diverse." [66] Official affirmative action policies have seen a rise in black economic wealth and an emerging black middle class.[67] Other problems include crime and HIV/AIDS. South Africa suffers from relatively heavy overall regulation burden compared to developed countries. State ownership and interference impose high barriers to entry in many areas. [68] Restrictive labour regulations have contributed to the unemployment malaise.[35] The 1994 government inherited an economy wracked by long years of internal conflict and external sanctions. The government refrained from resorting to economic populism. Inflation was brought down, public finances were stabilised, and some foreign capital was attracted. [69] Growth was still subpar.[69] At the start of 2000, then President Thabo Mbeki vowed to promote economic growth and foreign investment by relaxing restrictive labour laws, stepping up the pace ofprivatisation, and cutting unneeded governmental spending. His policies faced strong opposition from organised labour. From 2004 onward economic growth picked up significantly; both employment and capital formation increased.[69] South Africa is the largest energy producer and consumer on the continent.[citation needed] South Africa is a popular tourist destination, and a substantial amount of revenue comes from tourism.[70] Among the main attractions are the diverse and picturesque culture, the game reserves and the highly regarded local wines. The South African rand (ZAR), is the most actively traded emerging market currency in the world.[citation needed] It has joined an elite club of fifteen currencies, the Continuous linked settlement (CLS), where forex transactions are settled immediately, lowering the risks of transacting across time zones. The rand was the best-performing currency against the United States dollar (USD) between 2002 and 2005, according to the Bloomberg Currency Scorecard. The volatility of the rand has affected economic activity, falling sharply during 2001 and hitting a historic low of 13.85 ZAR to the US$, raising fears of inflation, and causing the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates. The rand has since recovered, trading at 7.09

ZAR to the dollar as of Sept. 2010. As exporters are put under considerable pressure from a stronger domestic currency, many call for government intervention to help soften the rand. Refugees from poorer neighbouring countries include many immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and others, representing a large portion of the informal sector. With high unemployment levels amongst poorer South Africans, xenophobia is prevalent and many people born in South Africa feel resentful of immigrants who are seen to be depriving the native population of jobs, a feeling which has been given credibility by the fact that many South African employers have employed migrants from other countries for lower pay than South African citizens, especially in the construction, tourism, agriculture and domestic service industries. Illegal immigrants are also heavily involved in informal trading.[71] Many immigrants to South Africa continue to live in poor conditions, and the South African immigration policy has become increasingly restrictive since 1994.[72] Principal international trading partners of South Africabesides other African countries include Germany, the United States, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain.[73] Chief exports include corn, diamonds, fruits, gold, metals and minerals, sugar, and wool. Machinery and transportation equipment make up more than one-third of the value of the countrys imports. Other imports include chemicals, manufactured goods, and petroleum. TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS: Several important scientific and technological developments have originated in South Africa. The first human-to-human heart transplant was performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in December 1967. Max Theiler developed a vaccine against Yellow Fever, Allan McLeod Cormack pioneered x-ray Computed tomography, and Aaron Klug developed crystallographic electron microscopy techniques. These advancements were all (with the exception of that of Barnard) recognised with Nobel Prizes. Sydney Brenner won most recently, in 2002, for his pioneering work in molecular biology. Mark Shuttleworth founded an early Internet security company Thawte, that was subsequently bought out by world-leader VeriSign. Despite government efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in biotechnology, IT and other high technology fields, no other notable groundbreaking companies have been founded in South Africa. It is the expressed objective of the government to transition the economy to be more reliant on high technology, based on the realisation that South Africa cannot compete with Far Eastern economies in manufacturing, nor can the republic rely on its mineral wealth in perpetuity.

South Africa has cultivated a burgeoning astronomy community. It hosts the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. South Africa is currently building the Karoo Array Telescope as a pathfinder for the 1.5 billion Square Kilometer Array project.[79] South Africa is a finalist, with Australia, to be the host of the SKA.

LEGAL FACTORS: South Africa has a 'hybrid' or 'mixed' legal system, made of the interweaving of a number of distinct legal traditions: a civil law system inherited from the Dutch, a common law system inherited from the British, and a customary law system inherited from indigenous Africans (often termed African Customary Law, of which there are many variations depending on the tribal origin). These traditions have had a complex interrelationship, with the English influence most apparent in procedural aspects of the legal system and methods of adjudication, and the Roman-Dutch influence most visible in its substantive private law.[1] As a general rule, South Africa follows English law in the areas of procedural law, lompany law and the law of evidence; while Roman-Dutch common law is followed in the South African contract law, law of delict (tort), law of persons, law of things, family law, etc. With the commencement in 1994 of the interim Constitution, and in 1997 its replacement, the final Constitution, another strand has been added to this weave. The South African court system is organised hierarchically, and consists of (from lowest to highest legal authority): Magistrates' Courts; High Courts; a Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest authority in non-Constitutional matters; and a Constitutional Court, which is the highest authority in constitutional matters.[2] The Constitutional Court has final authority to decide whether an issue is Constitutional or not. Certain specialised courts have also been provided for by the legislature, in order to avoid backlog in the main legal administration infrastructure. Among these is the Small Claims Court, which resolves disputes involving small monetary sums. In addition, African indigenous courts, which deal exclusively with indigenous law, also exist.

ENVIRONMENTAL/ GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES The total surface area (excluding the Antarctic claim) is 2,766,891.2 km2 (1,068,302.7 sq mi), of which 30,200 km2 (11,700 sq mi) (1.1%) is water. Argentina is about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) long from north to south, and 1,400 km (870 mi) from east to west (maximum values). There are four major regions: the fertile central plains of the Pampas, source of Argentina's agricultural wealth; the flat to rolling, oil-rich southern plateau of Patagonia including Tierra del Fuego; the subtropical northern flats of the Gran Chaco, and the rugged Andes mountain range along the western border with Chile.

The highest point above sea level is in Mendoza province at Cerro Aconcagua (6,962 m (22,841 ft)), also the highest point in the Southern[44]and Western Hemisphere.[45] The lowest point is Laguna del Carbn in Santa Cruz province, 105 m (344 ft) below sea level.[46] This is also the lowest point in South America. The geographic center of the country is in southcentral La Pampa province. The easternmost continental point is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones,( 2615S 5338W) the westernmost in the Mariano Moreno Range in Santa Cruz province.( 4933S 7335W) The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province,( 2146S 6613W) and the southernmost is Cape San Po in Tierra del Fuego. ( 5503S 6631W)[47] The major rivers are the Paran (the largest), the Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Ro Negro, Salado and the Uruguay. The Paran and the Uruguay join to form the Ro de la Plata estuary, before reaching the Atlantic. Regionally important rivers are the Atuel and Mendoza in the homonymous province, the Chubut in Patagonia, the Ro Grande in Jujuy and the San Francisco River in Salta. There are several large lakes including Argentino and Viedma in Santa Cruz, Nahuel Huapi between Ro Negro and Neuqun, Fagnano in Tierra del Fuego, and Colhu Huapi and Musters in Chubut.Lake Buenos Aires and O'Higgins/San Martn Lake are shared with Chile. Mar Chiquita, Crdoba, is the largest salt water lake in the country. There are numerous reservoirs created by dams. Argentina features various hot springs, such as Termas de Ro Hondo with temperatures between65 C (149 F) and 89 C (192 F).[48] The largest oil spill in fresh water was caused by a Shell Petroleum tanker in the Ro de la Plata, off Magdalena, on 15 January 1999, polluting the environment, drinking water, and local wildlife.[49] The 4,665 km (2,899 mi) long Atlantic coast[50] has been a popular local vacation area for over a century, and varies between areas of sand dunes and cliffs. The continental platform is unusually wide; this shallow area of the Atlantic is called the Argentine Sea. The waters are rich in fisheries and possibly hold important hydrocarbon energy resources. The two major ocean currents affecting the coast are the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falkland Current. Because of the unevenness of the coastal landmass, the two currents alternate in their influence on climate and do not allow temperatures to fall evenly with higher latitude. The southern coast of Tierra del Fuego forms the north shore of the Drake Passage.

Argentine culture has significant European influences. Buenos Aires, its cultural capital, is largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of European styles in architecture.[116] The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions (likeyerba mate infusions) have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu.

Argentina is highly urbanized.[111] The ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population, and fewer than one in ten live in rural areas. About 3 million people live in Buenos Aires City and the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world.[112]

The metropolitan areas of Crdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each[112] and Mendoza, Tucumn, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe[112][113] have at least half a million people each. The population is unequally distributed amongst the provinces: about 60% live in the Pampa region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires Province; Crdoba Province Santa Fe Province and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumn, Entre Ros, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. Tucumn is the most densely populated with 60 inhabitants/km, the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average, while the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1 inhabitant/km. Most European immigrants settled in the cities, and the many small towns founded along the expanding railway system. From the 1930s rural migration into the nation's larger cities accounted for much of their population growth.[13] Argentine cities were originally built in a colonial Spanish grid style and many still retain this general layout, which is known as adamero (checkerboard). Most of the larger cities also feature boulevards and diagonal avenues inspired by Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The city of La Plata, designed at the end of the 19th century by Pedro Benoit, combines the checkerboard layout with added diagonal avenues at fixed intervalsit was also the first in South America to have electric street lights. POLITICAL FACTORS The Argentine Constitution of 1853 mandates a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the national and provincial level. The political framework is a federal representative democratic republic, in which the President is both head of state and head of government, complemented by a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power resides in the President and the Cabinet. The President and Vice President are directly elected to four-year terms and are limited to two terms. Cabinet ministers are appointed by the President and are not subject to legislative ratification. The current President is Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, with Julio Cobos as Vice President. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral National Congress, comprising a 72member Senate and a 257-member Chamber of Deputies. Senators serve six-year terms, with one-third standing for re-election every two years. Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected to four-year terms by a proportional representation system, with half of the members

standing for re-election every two years. A third of the candidates presented by the parties must be women. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Supreme Court has seven members appointed by the President in consultation with the Senate. The judges of all the other courts are appointed by the Council of Magistrates of the Nation, a secretariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, the Congress and the executive. Though declared the capital in 1853, Buenos Aires did not become the official Capital until 1880. The 1994 amendment of the Argentine Constitution included a limited form of devolutionto Buenos Aires. The national government reserved control of the Argentine Federal Police (the federally administered city force), the Port of Buenos Aires, and other faculties, however.[36] Argentina is divided into twenty-three provinces (provincias; singular provincia) and one Autonomous City. Buenos Aires Province is divided into 134 partidos, while the remaining Provinces are divided into 376 departments (departamentos). Departments and Partidos are further subdivided into municipalities or districts. With the exception of Buenos Aires Province, the nation's provinces have chosen in recent years to enter into treaties with other provinces, forming four federated regions aimed at fostering economic integration and development: Center Region, Patagonic Region, New Cuyo Region, and the Argentine Greater North Region. ECONOMY A recognised middle power,[8] Argentina is Latin America's third-largest economy,[9] with a high rating on the Human development index.[7]Within Latin America, Argentina has the fifth highest nominal GDP per capita and the highest in purchasing power terms. [10] Analysts[11]have argued that the country has a "foundation for future growth due to its market size, levels of foreign direct investment, and percentage of high-tech exports as share of total manufactured goods", and it is classed by investors as an emerging economy. Argentina is a founding member of the United Nations, Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, and is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies. Argentina has a market-oriented economy with abundant natural resources, a well-educated population, an export-oriented agricultural sector and a relatively diversified industrial base. The nation's services sector accounts for around 59% of the economy and 72% of employment, manufacturing is 21% of GDP and 13% of employment, and agriculture is 9% of GDP, with 7% of employment; construction, mining, and public utilities divide the rest.[56] [57] Agriculture, including processed goods, provided 54% of export earnings in 2010, however, while industrial manufactures accounted for 35% (energy staples and metal ores were most of the remainder).[58] High inflation has been a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades.[59] Officially hovering around 9% since 2006, inflation has been privately estimated at over 20%, [60] becoming a contentious issue again. The urban income poverty rate has dropped to 18% as

of mid-2008, a third of the peak level observed in 2002, though still above the level prior to 1976.[61][62]Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is still considerably unequal. Argentina ranks 105th out of 178 countries in the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010.[65] Reported problems include both government and privatesector corruption, the latter of which include money laundering, trafficking in narcotics and contraband, and tax evasion.[66] The Kirchner administration responded to the Global financial crisis of 20082009 with a record public-works program, new tax cuts and subsidies,[67] [68] and the transfer of private pensions to the social security system. Private pension plans, which required growing subsidies to cover, were nationalized to shed a budgetary drain as well as to finance high government spending and debt obligations.[69][70] Argentina has, after its neighbour Chile, the second-highest Human Development Index, and the highest GDP per capita in purchasing power terms in Latin America. Argentina is one of the G-20 major economies, with the world's 27th largest nominal GDP, and the 22nd largest by purchasing power. The country is classified as upper-middle income or a secondary emerging market by the World Bank. TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS:
Argentina has contributed many distinguished doctors, scientists and inventors to the world, including three Nobel Prize laureates in sciences. Argentines have been responsible for major breakthroughs in world medicine; their research has led to significant advances in wound-healing therapies and in the treatment of heart disease and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. Ren Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first ever coronarybypass surgery, and Francisco de Pedro invented a more reliable artificial cardiac pacemaker.

Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American awarded with a Nobel Prize in the Sciences, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals; Csar Milstein did extensive research in antibodies; Luis Leloirdiscovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates. A team led by Alberto Taquini and Eduardo BraunMenndez discovered angiotensin in 1939, and was the first to describe the enzymatic nature of the renin-angiotensin system and its role in hypertension.[78] The Leloir Institute of biotechnology is among the most prestigious in its field in Latin America and in the world.[79] Dr. Luis Agote devised the first safe method of blood transfusion, Enrique Finochietto designed operating table tools such as the surgical scissors that bear his name ("Finochietto scissors") and a surgical rib-spreader.[80] They have likewise contributed to bioscience in efforts like the Human Genome Project, where Argentine scientists have successfully mapped the genome of a living being, a world first.[81][82] Argentina's nuclear program is highly advanced, having resulted in a research reactor in 1957 and Latin America's first on-line commercial reactor in 1974. Argentina developed its nuclear program without being overly dependent on foreign technology. Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons; since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.[83] As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts[84] and is highly committed to global nuclear security.[85]

In other areas, Juan Vucetich, a Croatian immigrant, was the father of modern fingerprinting (dactiloscopy).[86] Ral Pateras Pescara demonstrated the world's first flight of a helicopter, Hungarian-Argentine Lszl Br mass-produced the first modern ball point pens and Eduardo Taurozzi developed the pendular combustion engine.[87] Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Vctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007),[88] and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series.[89] The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malarge, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory

LEGAL FACTORS: The Legal system of Argentina is a Civil law legal system. The two pillars of the Civil system are the Constitution of Argentina (1853) and the Civil Code of Argentina (1871). The Argentine Constitution of 1853 was an attempt to unite the unstable and young country of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata under a single law, creating as well the different organisms needed to run a country. The constitution was finally approved after failed signatory attempts in 1813 (see Assembly of 1813), 1819 and 1831 (Pacto Federal). The Civil Code was written by Argentine jurist Dalmacio Vlez Srsfield, and started being effective on January 1, 1871. Beyond the influence of the Spanish legal tradition, the Argentine Civil Code was also inspired by the Draft of the Brazilian Civil Code, the Draft of the Spanish Civil Code of 1851, the Napoleonic code and the Chilean Civil Code among others. The sources of this Civil Code also include various theoretical legal works, mainly of the great French jurists of the 19th century. It was the first Civil Law that consciously adopted as its cornerstone the distinction between i. rights from obligations and ii. real property rights, thus distancing itself from the French model. Justice is administered by both federal and provincial courts. The former deal only with cases of a national character or those to which different provinces or inhabitants of different provinces are parties. The Supreme Court, which supervises and regulates all other federal courts, is composed of nine members nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Other federal courts include nine appellate courts, with three judges for each; single judge district courts, at least one for each province; and one-judge territorial courts. The federal courts may not decide political questions. Judges of the lower courts are appointed by the president. Provincial courts include supreme courts, appellate courts, courts of first instance, and minor courts of justices of the peace (alcaldes) and of the market judges. Members of provincial courts are appointed by the provincial governors. Trial by jury was authorized by the 1853

constitution for criminal cases, but its establishment was left to the discretion of congress, resulting in sporadic use. A 1991 law provides a fund for compensating prisoners who were illegally detained during the 197683 military dictatorship. In 1992, a system of oral public trials was instituted in order to speed up the judicial process while improving the protection of procedural rights of criminal defendants. In practice, there is not a truly independent judiciary. The courts lack power to enforce orders against the executive and federal judges who actively pursue charges of police or military corruption. In 1989, President Menem, in a court-packing maneuver, expanded the number of Supreme Court justices from five to nine. In 2003, shortly aft er taking office, PresidentNstor Kirchner signaled his intention to remove some of Menems appointees and to strengthen the judiciary by undoing some of Menems moves that turned the Supreme Court into a political ally of the president rather than an autonomous power of the state. Formal and informal constitutional accusation against Menem-appointed Supreme Court justices between 2003 and 2005 allowed Kirchner to appoint new justices who were considered friendly to his regime. Thus, the autonomy and independence of the Supreme Court continued to be weakened by the executives decision to influence the appointment and tenure of justices. The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence. The government respects these provisions. The constitution prohibits torture; however, police brutality remains a serious problem. The judicial system is subject to delays, resulting in lengthy pretrial detention.