‘BRICS’ NATIONS LOOK TO AFRICA FOR THE FUTURE

by Iweka Kingsley

Focus of the global business eyes on Africa keeps intensifying and this further establishes the continent as the hope for the future. This relationship is very evident in the continent’s trade with the BRICS countries. According to a recent report by Standard bank, BRICS countries trade with Africa has grown faster than economic bloc’s trade with any other region in the world.

The report reveals that, exports from the BRICS surged by 16% in 2010, and 4.4% in 2012. BRICS – World trade amounted to an estimated $5.6 trillion in 2012, making up nearly 16% of total global trade. Standard Bank also estimated that BRICS total trade with Africa reached $340 billion in 2012, representing a more than ten-fold increase over the course of a decade.

China seems to be leading the way, and rightly so as it makes up 67% of the BRICS total trade with the rest of the world and an estimated 55% of the total BRICS GDP. Last year, China overtook the United States to become the world’s largest trader.

India’s role is defined as ‘consistent’ with its economic size, while Russia and Brazil are relatively under-represented. However, increased participation is expected as the year unfolds and as Africa further reveals itself as the suitable business landscape.

South Africa’s role in all of this is quite significant. It became a part of the BRICS nations in 2010 and represents 2.8% of total BRICS trade and 2.6% of the group’s GDP – it is however the 3rd largest BRICS trading partner in Africa, accounting for about 11% of the BRICS – Africa trade. Last year, it traded 35% more than Brazil and 200% more than Russia.

BRICS trade is flourishing, and Africa remains a pivot. Projections for BRIC – Africa trade is set at $500 billion by 2015 and China – Africa trade is expected to be 60% of that figure, which is $300 billion. BRICS – Africa trade has grown at a substantially faster pace than BRICS – World and even BRICS – other emerging markets trade. However, the BRICS act more like competitors than collaborators in realising evident mutual gains.

Carrying the theme “BRICS and Africa – Partnership for Integration and Industrialization”, the fifth BRICS Summit held in Durban, South Africa from March 25 – 27, 2013. Deliberations in Durban are expected to provide the opportunity to provide structure, leveraging key starting points for BRICS engagement, thus allowing deeper avenues for collaboration as all five member economies continue to deepen their roles within a more multi-polar global economy.

@IwekaKingsley

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