Addition of S Africa to BRIC brings more power to emerging economies

16:03, January 28, 2011      

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BRIC became BRICS last month when South Africa officially became the fifth member of the club of the world's strongest emerging economies. The most important contribution that South Africa will make is to highlight the importance of the role of the African continent in world affairs, Bheki Langa, South African ambassador to China, told People's Daily Online on Wednesday.

Langa said that South Africa is excited about the invitation to join BRICS as a full member. The invitation has also been described as the best Christmas gift the country could get by its International Relations and Cooperation Minster earlier.

The African continent is going to play an increasingly important role in the future as a source of a new growth. The participation of South Africa in BRICS will strengthen this role.

Although the economic scale of South Africa is much smaller than the other BRICS member countries in term of size — the GDP of South Africa is about 286 billion U.S. dollar, which is less than one-quarter that of Russia — the African continent has a population of over 1 billion people, which is a huge market.

South Africa is the gateway to the African continent for other BRICS members or generally the rest of the world. In fact, 90 percent of trade to Africa is routed through the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Langa said the emerging economies, such as the BRICS countries, performed quite well during the financial crisis that started in 2008.

"In that part of the world, we did not have massive bank closures," Langa said.

For instance, South Africa has a very stable macro economic policy and framework, which helped the country avoid some serious problems that have affected many other countries.

On the economic level, these countries have played a part in ensuring the world economic order. On the political level, BRICS member countries have very close cooperation around the key issues affecting the world. There is also cooperation in other international forums between members in BRICS.

Langa said we are seeing new centers of economic influence in the world and BRICS is one of them. He said the world is also witnessing the gradual shift of economic influence from the West to the East.

By Wang Qianyuanxue, People's Daily Online


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