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BRICS – Can Africa Join This League?


BRICS - Can Africa Join This League?
Luanda is now the world’s most expensive city

AFRICANGLOBE – The last few years have seen rapid economic growth of BRICS countries and a recent paradigm shift of power towards these countries.

The recent Euro-zone crisis has further reinforced this position with European leaders during the euro-zone crisis summit, held in Brussels late last year, and the G-20 summit in Cannes, France making a plea to China to come to their aid and structure a bailout package considering the country has vast currency reserves.

The acronym BRICs was coined by Jim O’Neill in a 2001 paper entitled “Building Better Global Economic BRICs.” It is a term used to refer to the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The acronym has come into widespread use as a symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies towards the developing world. It is estimated that BRIC economies will overtake G7 economies by 2027.

These four countries, combined, currently account for more than a quarter of the world’s land area and more than 40 per cent of the world’s population. According to a 2010 report from Goldman Sachs, China might surpass the US in equity market capitalization terms by 2030 and become the single largest equity market in the world.

By 2020, America’s GDP might be only slightly larger than China’s GDP. These has seen many economist advocating that the four countries should not be considered as ’emerging economies’ but rather should be referred to as ‘growth economies’ and should be given their rightful place at the top table of power. In late 2010, China’s GDP stood at $5.88 trillion making the country the world’s second-largest economy after the United States of America.

The rapid transformation of the world economic order makes [we] Africans wonder where we stand; if some of our African countries can achieve growth rates of BRIC countries and maybe, in the not too distant future, if we can have our own acronym, SENAs for instance, comprising South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Angola. These four countries have vast potential to be the springboard of African growth in the next few years, based on the GDP levels of 2010.

South Africa, which is Africa’s biggest economy, had a GDP of $363.7 billion and was ranked 28th in the world. It is also interesting to note that Nigeria and Egypt have also been considered as part of the next eleven (N-11). The Next Eleven (or N-11) are eleven countries–Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam — identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank and Jim O’Neill as having a high potential of becoming, along with the BRICS, the world’s largest economies in the 21st century.

Angola on the other hand is also experiencing rapid economic transformation with its growth anchored on extensive oil and gas resources, diamonds, hydroelectric potential, and rich agricultural land and has been having average economic growth rates of 11.1 per cent.

Based on 2010 GDP figures, the four countries are worth $860.5 billion. However, more needs to be done if Africa is to transform itself but there is no denying that the continent is a sleeping giant with vast potential considering its endowment of resources.


By:  Tapiwanashe Vushe

The author is an economist based in Harare

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