ANALYSIS-S.Africa, not just another BRIC in the wall

Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:32pm GMT

With sub-Saharan Africa's total economy growing from $322 billion in 2000 to $931 billion in 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund, it seemed that an African state would eventually join the group.

"This is more about perception and projecting Africa as the frontier market that it is, rather than the one that is ignored when talking about BRIC," said Martyn Davies, CEO of Frontier Advisory and a specialist on African-Chinese economic ties.

"This will help South Africa project itself as a first tier emerging market rather than its current second tier status."

South Africa has been lobbying for some time behind the scenes to be granted BRIC membership, officials have said.

Davies said South Africa could better earn a seat on economic merit if it can integrate the economies of the Southern African Development Community -- a 15-state regional block.

South Africa's rand has strengthened since it was invited to join BRIC, partly in expectation of an inflow of funds from realigning BRIC portfolios.

Zonis said the impact from capital inflows will be limited, and long term gains will come from how well South Africa can use its BRIC status to make itself more attractive for investment.

EAGLES AND THE NEST   Continued...

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