It has been a good week for South Africa's global reputation, and there have been few of late. President Jacob Zuma represented the country at its first meeting in Hainan, China, as a member of Brics, dwarfed somewhat by its partners, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Say what you will about SA's worthiness in this group of growing economic powerhouses, if SA uses this alliance correctly, it should be able to derive enormous benefits.

The evidence is already there. Last week, Brazilian miner Vale initiated a local acquisition, while our trade with Brics nations, particularly China, increases by the day, although the relationship is weighted in China's favour.

Considering the shift in global economic power towards developing countries, SA is, ostensibly, in the right camp, although there are concerns that growth, particularly in China, is overheated.

We must, however, ensure that we are not at the receiving end of the alliance, but utilise it to grow the economy and initiate agreements which will bring employment and trade opportunities for local companies.

Membership of Brics has given SA a unique opportunity to raise its profile. It also gives SA a voice among a group which has indicated it will listen, something which is not as easy in the G20. The other Brics members, although significant players in the global economy, have similar problems at G20.

There has been much talk about SA having to "up its game" to justify its position alongside its partners. It needs not justify its membership, but it would do well to up its game by learning from its partners, who have, over the past few years, been forging ahead while SA has shown limited ability to grow and prosper.



SOURCE: Times Live
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