News Analysis: S. Africa's entry into BRIC enhances African voice in world

08:14, January 10, 2011      

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South Africa's recent admission to BRIC, which grouped Brazil, Russia, India and China, would not only benefit both sides, but boost the African continent's voice across the world, analysts say.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has issued an invitation to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, inviting him to attend the third BRIC leaders' meeting to be held in Beijing in 2011, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a news briefing on Dec. 28.

After South Africa's joining, BRIC has been renamed as BRICS.

BRIC's acceptance of South Africa as a full member was a mutually beneficial and strategic choice, and would make the organization's mechanism better representative of emerging economies, analysts and officials said.

Due to the global financial crisis, South Africa's economic growth has slowed down over the past two years.

The country's financial minister Pravin Gordhan recently said South Africa's entry into BRIC would bring the country a better environment to boost economy, experience in realizing rapid economic increase, more advanced knowledge and technology, and trade volume expansion.

Meantime, Martin Davis, a well-known South African expert on China-Africa ties, told Xinhua that the entry would promote BRICS' international prominence and its voice in international affairs.

South Africa's Business Day newspaper also said the participation would be conducive to the rise of South Africa, a country with a population of 49 million, in the international arena, and help boost the political and economic ties between South Africa and the other four BRICS countries.

Analysts said the entry of South Africa, Africa's biggest economy, would also lift up Africa's voice in the world community.

Sonny Maghess Vandru, a researcher with the China research center of South Africa's Stellenbosch University, told Xinhua that BRICS plays a very important role in the current changeable world, and South Africa, through the BRICS platform, would speak with a louder voice of the African continent with a population of over 1 billion.

Yang Lihua, director of the South Africa research center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said BRICS, after accepting South Africa, would help Africa turn into reality its development potentiality and promote Africa's influence in world political and economic affairs.

Although South Africa's latest participation brought an encouraging picture for the country, BRICS and Africa at large, challenges still lie ahead of South Africa if it wants to better play as a BRICS member, observers said.

South Africa needs to close the GDP gap between it and the other four BRICS members. Currently, the country's annual GDP is some 350 billion U.S. dollars, which is much less than that of the other four members.

South Africa also should improve its infrastructure, including roads, ports, power grids and so on, raise its scientific and technological levels, and boost its trade competitiveness.

Despite the challenges, the enlargement of BRICS, without doubt, has provided a good opportunity for South Africa and the bloc itself to achieve development.

BRICS would have a brighter future with the concerted efforts of the five members and the backup of all emerging economies.

Source: Xinhua
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