Statistics on hosts South Africa

Following are key facts on 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa: GEOGRAPHY

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa, with almost 2,800 kilometres of coastline from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. At 1.22 million squared kilometres it is the 25th largest country in the world, roughly the size of France, Italy and Spain combined.

South Africa is bordered to the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, to the east by Mozambique and Swaziland and encircles the kingdom of Lesotho.

The country is divided into nine provinces, with Gauteng, which includes industrial and financial centre Johannesburg and capital Pretoria, being the smallest by land size but the richest and most populated. It is also home to three of the 10 stadiums for the World Cup.

Cape Town, in the south-west of the country, is the biggest tourist draw and will host a semi-final in the tournament within site of its famous Table Mountain.

PEOPLE

49.32 million people, largely housed in the northern and western parts of the country.

South Africa has 11 official languages and while English is the main language of business it is only the fifth most commonly spoken in the country. The others are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Swazi, Venda and Southern Ndebele.

Just under 80 percent of the population is black, with whites and mixed-race "coloured" making up about nine percent each and Asian about 2.6 percent. Wealth is still skewed in the hands of the white population 15 years after the end of apartheid white rule.

Nearly a third of the population is under the age of 15.

South Africa was a British colony and English football is hugely popular and closely watched.

ECONOMY

GDP was 2.284 trillion rand at the end of 2008 (about $310 billion)

Annual GDP per capita was 46,800 rand (about $6,300)

South Africa's economy emerged from its first recession in 17 years in the third quarter of 2009, after averaging around five percent growth a year for the previous five years.

However, consumers remain under pressure and power supply is still tight, prompting utility Eskom to pour billions of dollars into building capacity.

The Treasury has forecast the economy to contract 1.9 percent this year, but grow by 1.5 percent in 2010.

Economists say the prediction for next year is too pessimistic, with the World Cup and the money flowing from an expected 450,000 fans helping to boost growth to above two percent. Some economists see the tournament adding about 0.5 percent to growth.

The government and its utilities are to spend 872 billion rand over the next three years to boost infrastructure, including a huge upgrade of roads and highways around major cities and a fast rail system linking Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport, financial centre Sandton and Pretoria.

The "Gautrain", however, will not be finished in time for the tournament.

South Africa is mineral-rich, producing about 75 percent of the world's platinum, and remains a major producer of gold despite its output having fallen sharply over the past two decades.

Tourism contributed 8.4 percent o