I briefly reported some of Elizabeth Sidiropolous’ perspectives as shared at a Frontier Advisory hosted seminar in a recent post. The full report on SAIIA’s April seminar on the BRICs is available here.
Some of the points she highlights on this page are:
- The invitation to SA to join the BRICs carries symbolic significance as an acknowledgement of the country’s role in Africa and on the global stage.
- While BRIC membership presents economic opportunities for SA, these are not automatic. Access for SA investment into their markets is often difficult, while the SA investment environment needs to address some of its shortcomings in attracting FDI.
- The BRICs are competing for markets in Africa with SA. SA has marketed itself as the ‘gateway to Africa’; however, the BRIC countries have largely bypassed it in forming their own bilateral relationships with many African states.
- SA’s membership of this grouping can reap benefits for the Southern African region even though SA is not formally representing it because aspects of the African agenda will be put on the BRICS table.
- BRICS is emerging as a club within the broader G20 club, and has mobilised successfully on Bretton Woods reform.
- BRICS is not an alliance and it may not be the forum to develop a new global architecture. There is a growing congruence on certain international issues. On other such as climate change or global trade it may be more difficult.
- IBSA has much clearer coherence, especially on the global commons debate, although progress on some initiatives could have been greater.
I’d like to hear from those who are taking a forward-looking view on what South Africa’s engagement in the BRICs could mean for its traditional development partners. Doesn’t this open up tremendous new opportunities for partnership if we shift the focus of our risk lens ever so slightly? What does it mean for the Canadian private sector investing in Africa? What does it mean for international development initiatives on the continent? What do you think?