South Africa's entry into BRIC to reshape world economy

16:57, December 30, 2010      

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After a year of hard work, South Africa has formally joined with the four major emerging powers that form the BRIC cooperation mechanism. South African media said it is an important milestone, signifying South Africa is becoming a major emerging economy in the world.

The prime motivation for South Africa's entry into BRIC — short for Brazil, Russia, India and China — is to create conditions for the country's economic development. Before the outbreak of the international financial crisis, South Africa had experienced the fastest economic growth since 1994, with the economy growing at a rate of more than 5 percent for three consecutive years. But the financial crisis drastically slowed economic growth and pushed unemployment higher.

The role of South Africa's traditional trading partners — Western countries — has been lessened significantly and the emerging economies are becoming increasingly prominent. China is South Africa's largest trading partner, and South Africa is the largest destination in Africa for China's direct investment.

South Africa's trade with India increased to 7.5 billion U.S. dollars last year. Its trade and investment with Brazil and Russia also increased rapidly. The emerging economies are bringing more opportunities for South Africa's development. The accession into the BRIC has become inevitable as the South African government stresses diplomacy should serve the interest of economy.

By joining the BRIC countries, South Africa also hopes to become the gateway for the BRIC countries' entry into Africa. From 2000 to 2008, BRIC trade with Africa increased more than seven times. In 2008, the BRIC trade with Africa accounted for nearly 20 percent of Africa's total foreign trade volume.

Some economists believe that the BRIC is taking Africa from the edge to the center of the global economy. As Africa's largest economy, South Africa has companies operating in more than half of the African continent. South Africa is looking forward to expanding cooperation with the BRIC counties in Africa, which will ultimately promote national economic development.

The rapid development of Africa contributed to South Africa's accession into the BRIC. Over the past decade, efforts to pursue peace, stability and economic reform have brought rapid economic growth to the African continent. Africa's role in the international arena has been increasingly important.

Although some think South Africa's small population, the size of its economy and the relatively slow growth rate do not meet the BRIC standard, South Africa has the ability to promote agendas related to Africa on the international arena and promote South-South cooperation. This is an important factor that makes South Africa valuable as a BRIC country.

From South Africa's efforts to join the BRIC, people can see the expanding influence of the emerging countries. It has not been 10 years since the term BRIC was coined. An official dialogue mechanism between the leaders of the BRIC countries was not established until 2009.

However, the economic vitality of the cooperation among the four countries has had a great effect on the international community. Data shows that the BRIC contribution to global economic growth reached 50 percent. The International Monetary Fund predicted that by 2014, the proportion BRIC economies contribute will reach 61 percent.

What is more, the four countries are playing an increasingly important role in issues including international financial system reform, climate change and other matters related to major issues of global governance in promoting the international order to move in a more balanced direction.

Aware of these changes and trends and holding the same position on many global issues, South Africa wishes to become a member of BRIC in order to achieve mutual benefits.

The expansion of BRIC not only reflects the adjustment of the global economic landscape, but also will further promote changes in the world order. In 2011, all the BRICS countries will serve as members of the U.N. Security Council, permanent or non-permanent. Their active roles deserve people’s attention in the year to come.

By People's Daily Online
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