Area: 3,607 square kilometres
Population: 892,600 million
Main towns: East London, King Williams Town, Bhisho
Named after the majestic Amathole Mountains, the district includes the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which includes the second largest township in South Africa, Mdantsane.
The population is made up of largely African (97%) followed by coloureds, whites and Asians. Two-thirds of the district is made up of ex-homeland areas. It is also the birthplace of struggle hero, Steve Biko.
It has the second biggest economy in the Eastern Cape. In 2010 it contributed 0.68% of the South African economy and 8.7% to the Eastern Cape economy.
The average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 3.4%. The tertiary sector is the municipality’s largest contribution to the economy, making a contribution of 80.6%. This is followed by the secondary sector (18%) and the primary sector (1.4%).
However, agriculture also plays an important role in the district's economy.
It has a strong and diversified agricultural sector, which is complemented by a strong food and beverages manufacturing sector that contributes 4.8% to the region's economy.
The district makes a 0.71% contribution to the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector of the South African economy. Manufacturing also plays an important role in the district economy. In 2010, manufacturing contributed 12.9% to the district’s gross value added product.
The district is also home to the first operating industrial development zone (IDZ), the East London IDZ. One of two IDZs located in the province, the IDZ programme is an initiative by the South African government to encourage export oriented growth in the country through the attraction of foreign and local investors.
Its GDP per capita is higher than the provincial average and the tertiary sector is the municipality's largest contributor to its economy. The district has a relatively high propensity to export and accounts for more than two-thirds of the Eastern Cape’s export sales.
The unemployment rate is 28%.
A detailed study on this district is available here (link to study).