Sunday, May 1, 2011

From BRICs to BRICS – Five no longer Four

The BRICs -Brazil, India, China, Russia just became the BRICS (note the change in the letter “S”) with the addition of South Africa. According to the Economist ( these five countries represent “around 40% of the world’s population and nearly a quarter of its economic output.”
Already known as an entity with growing influence on matters of trade and development this addition, the move to five from four, is likely to magnify the importance of this group.

According to Brent Radcliffe’s article “The Fab Five:  South Africa Joins BRIC”
(, South Africa’s addition may surprise some.  It’s smaller by population and size of its economy than the original four.  But it does represent a link the emerging economies throughout the continent.  (In fact China and India are already active investors throughout the Africa.  This extends their ties.) Radcliffe points out the addition of South Africa gives this group of developing (and emerging) economies representation on three continents along with a strong presence (Russia) in Eastern Europe.   

While articles will explore what this means for investors, the major industrialized nations, and the world trade agreements there’s another question to consider:  What will this mean for South Africa?  Writing in Times Live,  Abdullah Verachia explores this question in his article "SA needs to step up to the Bric plate."
He considers this an opportunity for South Africa, one that requires thoughtful consideration of how to proceed in order to obtain the benefits of "membership".  He concludes his articles by saying:

“Individuals, companies and countries have to find new compasses to navigate the new economic path. South Africans know the way. It is how we chart that road that will make all that difference.”

We will all watch with interest as South Africa moves from being known to many as the host of a successful World Cup to an increasingly important member of the global trade community.

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