South Africa Tapped to Join Bric Group

Published on Monday 27th December 2010

South Africa received a major boost for its international image Friday when it was formally invited to join BRIC, the influential federation of increasingly-powerful global economies that comprises Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa will attend the group's next summit in 2011 and the new group will be known as BRICS.

The offer was extended by China, the current chair of the group, and based on a unanimous agreement between all member states. China is South Africa's largest trading partner.

South Africa has long lobbied to join the prestigious organization, which is increasingly playing an influential role in global affairs.

BRIC countries accounted for nearly half of global economic growth between 2000 and 2008 and represent 40 percent of the world's population.

As yet there is no formal link between BRIC countries, but the group held its first summit in Russia last year. The group has taken steps to boost financial cooperation and investment opportunities among themselves.

South Africa, which has the world's 32nd largest economy, judged by GNP, is Africa's economic powerhouse but suffers from high unemployment. Their economy is just one-fourth the size of Russia, the smallest BRIC.

The country is not a part of the group known as the Next Eleven, or N-11, which comprises Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam.

Several other countries no doubt felt snubbed, including Iran, which perhaps explains a statement on Friday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which predicted that Iran would become the world's 12th biggest economy by 2015. It currently boasts the world's 28th largest, judged by GNP.


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