11 January 2011
South Africa’s invitation the join the BRIC group of fast-growing emerging economies as a full member will open up new trade and investment opportunities for the country, says International Marketing Council of South Africa CEO Miller Matola.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the informal but powerful bloc – comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China – will account for 61 percent of global growth in three years’ time.
It is expected that South Africa will be formally accepted as a new member at the next BRIC summit in April.
Gateway to Africa
“The fact that South Africa has the opportunity to be affiliated to this group of powerful emerging economies underlines two main points,” Matola told BuaNews this week. “Firstly that the country is recognised as a developing economy of significance in its own right, but also that it is the gateway to the continent of Africa – the next growth superstar.”
Matola said South Africa’s membership of the group was a good move not only economically but also politically. A new world order was unfolding, he said, with economic and therefore political power shifting from West to East, and the BRIC countries were the visible face of this movement.
“To draw South Africa into this powerful club underlines the country’s growing international role and its future significance for those who want to make use of the expanding African opportunities.
“It is, in fact, an association that does not only benefit the group, but the emerging world as a whole and Africa in particular,” Matola said.
‘Huge new opportunities’
“Huge new opportunities will open up for South Africa on the investment and trade front,” Matola added. “Private companies may also find market access into the BRIC countries easier, and partnerships with companies from this grouping might evolve.
“This might become particularly important, as South Africa is already the biggest emerging economy investor on the continent – its companies are active in at least half of all African countries.”
South Africa should use these new opportunities to increase the country’s competitive edge, Matola said.
Although SA’s ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index dropped last year, this reflected not a decline in the country’s performance but improvements by other countries.
However, once South Africa joins BRIC it will be “playing in a different league and, as such, will have to improve on its delivery and performance,” Matola said.