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BRICS membership to improve South Africa's competitiveness

Updated: 2011-04-12 10:13
( Xinhua)

JOHANNESBURG - BRICS membership offered huge potential for South Africa to boost its competitiveness via cooperation in investment and trade, a local marketing agency said Tuesday.

As the only African country in BRICS, South Africa was expected to push for Africa's integration in trade and policies with the  other four BRICS members -- Brazil, Russia, India and China,  Miller Matola, head of the International Marketing Council of  South Africa, told Xinhua.

"Huge new opportunities will open up for South Africa on the investment and trade front," he said, "as South Africa is already the biggest investor in the continent and its companies are active in at least half of Africa's countries," Matola said.

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At the BRICS summit to be held in China in mid-April, South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to stand for the whole African market and push the economic agenda of the continent to  other members.

Matola said South Africa's joining in "this group of powerful  emerging economies underlines two main points -- the country is recognized as a developing economy of significance in its own right, and it is the gateway to the continent of Africa, the next growth superstar."

Joining BRICS also meant South Africa must use these new opportunities to increase its competitive edge, Matola said.

Last year, South Africa's ranking in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index dropped, but its performance has in fact remained stable. Rather, the decline reflects the improvement of other countries' ability to spur economic growth.

"South Africa will play in a different league and, as such, will have to improve its delivery and performance," Matola said.

Though South Africa's population and economic size were not at the same level as those of other BRICS members, "clearly, the  advantages of being part of the exploding African economic growth outweigh this consideration," Matola said.

BRICS membership "underlines the country's growing  international role and its future significance for those who want to make use of the expanding African opportunities," he said.

According to the International Monetary Fund, BRICS will account for 61 percent of world's economic growth in three years.

"A new world order is unfolding where economic clout and thus political power is shifting from the West to the East, with the BRICS countries as the visible face of that movement," Matola  said.